It has been an exciting year, not without challenges but one that has given us lots to be really thankful for.
The has seen the re-establishment of Arise, a youth event for young people in Bath to connect with God, the launch of Nightstop, the completion of an internship by Naomi Peachey and degree by James Rogers; both of whom have gone on to new roles working with young people in Swindon and Aldershot respectively. A major piece of work has been the ongoing development of Shaping Church to Disciple Young People (SCTDYP) led by James Vaughton, in partnership with Bath Deanery. The research was published earlier in 2017 and is now shaping a new approach to working alongside churches to help them be better shaped to disciple young people. SCTDYP and Arise are both examples of how YFC brings workers together. Underpinning this important partnership work is a regular youth workers breakfast which creates the opportunities for relationships between those of us working among young people to grow our relationships.
We are passionate about seeing young people grow and develop. Arise and Motus provide such opportunities for young people to lead. To support these young people, we ran our Young Leader Scheme earlier in 2017. As the year ended our work to empower young people has continued, this time in school as Katie Duncan has worked alongside Mentoring Plus to train a team of peer mentors to support younger students at Hayesfield School. Another great opportunity to help young people develop as leaders and as followers of Jesus was our trip to Cape Town in the summer of 2017 where the team led a holiday bible club for a week. Another summer highlight was a group from Motus heading to Soul Survivor, where one young person took the step of committing his life to follow Jesus and Richard McDade taking a group to Greenbelt.
This year has seen the team step up and out in prayer. One of the highlights of prayer was being able to walk across the city of Bath over two days, praying and stopping at churches along the way. Sam Ludwell returned to us after nearly a year of maternity leave and Dave Joyce and Kat Lazenby took sabbaticals this year, which was great that they were able to do following many years of serving on the team. Dave went to Mexico as part of his trip and came back with a real sense of vision that God is calling us to gather 60 young people from Bath for a mission trip to Mexico and it has been encouraging to see young people in schools and partner projects getting interested and excited about this trip in 2019.
In schools much of our work has continued in the very capable hands Katie Duncan, Sam Packer, Dave Joyce and Chris Porter. Following the receipt of funding we have been able to grow the Accompanying Project in Bath and beyond. As part of this we launched our film and website, www.accompanying.uk.
There is much more I could write of course. What strikes me is the variety of work we have been part of across the year (and I have not even mentioned our work in Wiltshire!). This variety reflects the talented and diverse team we have and how the trustees at Bath YFC allow the team to shape the work according to that diversity of gifts, talents and sense of the call of God.
Towards the end of the year we held a Lego Serious Play morning with the focus being an attempt to consider when there is such variety, what is it that unites us. It was a very encouraging morning where in spite of the different talents and focuses across the team we recognised we are united around the mission of being, taking and living the gospel through leading young people towards Jesus Christ, in the breadth of its meaning. As the morning progressed we ended by bringing our Lego models together to form an arrow with the sense that the team were like an arrow in the hands of the supreme archer: God. Furthermore, the encouragement that we can and must ‘Trust the Archer’.
As we head rapidly and into 2018 we pray that we will continue to trust God as the archer who puts the energy and direction into the arrow of the team here at YFC.