I campaign for young people at church

Posted Sunday October 08, 2017 by Hazel Durbridge

I am writing this because I know I will only get one chance to say it and I want to be certain I have given it my best shot.

I actually wrote a piece that had a much narrower focus, but couldn’t print it for Monday. Then Monday’s prayer event made me think wider.

First of all can I acknowledge that writing like this is challenging. Can I also acknowledge that I have natural leadership tendencies and a shedload of ideas if little spiritual maturity.  I get paid for two of those attributes.  What I am writing here I have spoken to no one about because I am aware that many would not wish to address church leadership in this way.  I am not in to starting a revolution.

Samuel Black (not their real name) is my inspiration for this and I want to ask if the Elders have had a discussion about Samuel. I know he xxxx and I don’t know how that went.  I know he wants to xxx.  I know he is only about 22 although I placed him about 30.

Samuel can preach. He has a gift.  He will inspire and carry people with him.  I heard some young people reflect that which is how I found out he is 22.

Our church is full of very talented, middle aged and old people. I would like the elders to consider whether we have enough older people with talents to provide the core of enlightened service the church family needs and what we are doing to nurture those of our young on the cusp of adulthood.  If we can’t give wings to some amazing church leaders of the future, I don’t know what church can.

Saying, ‘didn’t our young people do well’ and ‘let’s give them a clap’ is patronising once they are old enough to vote. I mean relating to our young people as equals.

There seems to be an inhibition in the church about nurturing Christian focused gifting. I remember Alan commenting once at prayer group that xx had to deal with a load of prima donnas.  In the context of what I want to get across I rethought that.  Are we celebrating God by not allowing individuals to shine?  There’s a great quote that Nelson Mandela gave in his speech he got from a woman, Marianne Williamson, that I have used to encourage my own children –

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Monday night we lauded Stephen Gaukroger. I love to hear him too, but alongside God in Stephen is a solid ego.  This is not a sin.


I wanted to write and ask, what are we doing for Samuel? Today I thought, maybe there are half a dozen young church people we are not doing all we could for.

To launch extraordinary faith leaders / black, white and brown Whitney Houstons (before the drugs) out in to the world would be a huge credit to xx and his youth ministry to date. It plays to his and xxx strengths and it fits in our mission statement.

We don’t have to do it forever. We could have a goal for the next 5 years to support 5 – 10 young people in aspects of faith ministry.  They don’t all have to be from our church, but it would be good to be Luton based.  They could work as a self-supporting group with input from our 2 finance guys (business planning), Fred (budget management), Theo (body language / speech coaching), Davina (wardrobe and image consultancy), Knox (music), the couple just back from Spain (mission work), Jed (IT/ arts), I could input on project management in developing countries – the list of church capabilities is endless and most have grown up children and would love doing it.  It is not hours of input.  It’s drive and belief.

Money. Every time they spoke or performed they could take a % of the offering.  Why don’t we have a group of people who would sing at weddings or go around other churches and charge for it.  Is that a sin?

By the way – I think the interregnum is going great. I have lost count of the number of people I have heard comment, ‘you wouldn’t think we didn’t have a lead pastor’.  I look forward to who I am going to hear speak each week.

No leader you choose will meet all expectations. We are all responsible for contributing to vision.


Thank you for reading this and thus allowing me to do my bit.

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