I travelled to Maidstone yesterday to speak at the SA's London South East area youth gathering. I was looking forward to it for a number of reasons - I like working with and teaching young people, the theme was all about identity and knowing who we are in Christ etc, and it really fitted in with a lot of the things I've been thinking about recently.
It was good discipline to be totally anonymous in a place. I showed up and sat at the back, just observing and watching and trying to listen to what God wanted me to say (hence some quick scribbled alterations to my talk!).
My brief was to speak about prayer, and our identity relating to it. Why we pray, the fact that God does listen and does want to speak to us,the fact that it isnt about us becoming 'better' Christians before he does, and how we actually hear from him. I also spoke a lot about my pet subject - us growing in seeing ourselves the way God does etc.
At the end I got them to identify their dreams, for their churches, for their homes, for their schools. I asked them to think big as to what they wanted to see God do. The responses were really great, and really moved me as I sat at home last night reading through them. They want to see their schools changed, they want to see peace, and they want to see social justice and an end to Human Trafficking. It encouraged me again that there is a generation of young christians in the SA who are really passionate and really on fire for what God wants to do through them.
As I sat and looked over the approx 220 young people, I had that odd 'prickling up the back of my neck' feeling. I wondered what they would grow up to be, how they would impact their corps and communities, what God would do through them. It feels such a privilege to be in the generation just above them, to be able to see, and be a part of, and try to equip them for what they'll do. It also stirred me again to keep praying for them. So many of them are facing challenges and struggles, and I so hope that they'll stick with God through them.
One guy in particular got up, and said he felt challenged by the Scripture verse: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", he challenged the other youth that as a division, they could do all things through Christ, that they have an important role to play etc. Just what I was thinking, but said so much more eloquently!