Saturday, October 06, 2007

Exciting news for the future...

Haven't blogged in a wee while, no real excuse for that except busyness! Got some exciting news to share though, although many of you will have already heard! I work with young people in the community who have no interest in church. This started about 18 months ago with detached youth work and then we progressed into the Basement of Cafe Rigmarole in December 2006. Since then we have been open 3 afternoons and 2 evenings per week. We have contact with 40 young people and have approximately 270 users each month, facilitated by a team of 6 volunteers and myself. However, the Basement is tiny which really restricts the amount of young people we can engage with and what we can offer them in terms of facilities.

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.
In all these conversations, myself and the rest of the leaders are able to give God answers.

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!


christopher.boyce said...

Para 3, there not their!!

Do you not need to be 4ft tall to walk into the VI?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fantastic Neil! Great to hear what is happening! 'Struggling to keep up with what God is doing'... what a good place to be!

God bless you in all you do.

Nina (from Emmanuel)

Steve McCready said...

Awesome news Neil. Exciting to see your heartbeat for youth ministry worked out in this. Amazing. Wee question...what's the chances of renting the VI of you one wednesday night a month for True?

Neil Harrison said...

Thanks steve! Im sure we could negotiate something! still need to get that coffee soon!

dave wiggins said...

charge him a big price shorty

Anonymous said...

my friend has been praying over that pub for years as she walked past

God has answered prayer

God bless you Neil

joy said...

This is really exciting!!! Glad God is on the case as usual, joy

Molar said...

Inspiring stuff mate! Like the sound of all you are saying.

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