So what do we do with them? The work is primarily relational - hanging out with the young people and getting to know them and what is going on in their lives. We also have engaged in group work and ran a Youth Alpha course which was a great success.
Has there been progress? Yes i believe there has been! There seems to be less evidence of anti-social behaviour in the village as supported by the Neighbourhood Watch and the PSNI. As leaders, we have seen HUGE changes in the young people over recent months. At times relationships have been very frustrating with young people showing little or no respect or appreciation towards leaders or the facility. However, recently that has certainly not been the case and we have seen a much more settled atmosphere in the Basement with significant progress in relationships. Through this ministry i have had the opportunity to talk to young people aboutmany of their struggles:
- struggles at home.
- struggles with a sick relative.
- struggles with their sexual activity.
- struggles about life being rubbish.
- struggles with whether God is real or not.
- struggles with a parent who has left home.
So what about the FUTURE? Well that is the exciting news! We have been offered use of the Village Inn as a community facility for the next 2 years until it is ready for development. The VI is a huge facility and will allow us to do grow and expand the work with the young people as well as develop work with other people groups in the community.
My vision for the youth work in the community raises some challenging questions for the people in our church family:
- why not think bigger?
- why not contact with 80 young people?
- why not open 7 nights per week?
- why not a team of 30 volunteers?
It's not everyday that you are given a pub! God is doing something in this community and it's exciting to be part of it! In fact, at the moment i am struggling to keep up with what God is doing but it's a great place to be!