Long Term Youth Work

25 June 2012 — 7 Comments

In addition to celebrating our 12th Wedding anniversary yesterday, I also had the privilege of Baptising a young man I have worked with for the same amount of time.

I met Matt (not his real name) when I went to pick up his older brother for an after school club. The brother was 11 and attended the group regularly, Matt was 4 and not old enough to come. They’d both been locked out on their own while mum went into town. As a result, Matt started coming along quite regularly!

My colleagues and I have supported the family through a number of difficulties. As Matt explained on Sunday when he got baptised, they always had a social worker and were constantly under threat of being taken into care. As he got older, he started helping at some clubs for younger children, attending some youth activities (including church residential weekends), and then went to the Soul Survivor festival last summer. He says “that’s where God finally got me”!

Twelve years of ups and downs, hardships and joys, but now this young man has made a decision to follow Jesus. To be clear, I’d be just as proud of him if he hadn’t become a Christian because of the positive choices he has made and is making. But it was a very special and emotional moment to watch him publicly state his faith and to pray over him.

Working with young people long-term is frustrating, painful and mostly thankless, but there are some moments that make it all worthwhile!

Jon

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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

7 responses to Long Term Youth Work

  1. Utterly brilliant and inspiring. Thank you! RT @bobweasel: Long Term Youth Work. New post on my blog: http://t.co/7RyWZiNv

    • Great report, Jon!
      It is up to us to change the point of viewing. Do we just focus on the frustrating experiences with young people or do we even notice how God is working on some of the kids to give sense to their lives…
      Never give up – HE is with you!
      Ralf

  2. I remember all those years ago when ‘Matt’ was sick all over himself and me, whilst on an outting!! Strangly this secured him a special place in my heart and I am really proud of the path he has chosen to take.

    I also remember back then on that fatefull night, after we had got him cleaned up – we were stood in a cafe waiting to get him some much needed food and a lady over heard ‘Matt’ chatting to me and made a point of coming over to say to me what a lovely little boy he was. Awwww….and still lovely now! 🙂

  3. “@bobweasel: In case you missed it, here’s why Sunday was such a great day for me! http://t.co/zjpXi5VI” awesome, why I love youth work!

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