For young people, led by young people
The youth programme at the 2016 Baptist Assembly
This year’s Assembly’s youth programme also focused on Jesus’s commands in Luke 10:27 to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
But while it was facilitated for the first time by Sandra Crawford, Regional Minister for Youth at the North Western Baptist Association and Pastor at Leyland Baptist Church, and Bob Morris, the Youth and Children’s Pastor at Cirencester Baptist Church, the programme was actually led by young people.
‘We thought it would be so much better if the young people actually led it,’ said Bob. ‘So we were there to facilitate. There was a group from Sandra’ church, and a group from mine. We helped them through the preparation, and basically wound them up and let them go.’
The Cirencester group led the worship, while those from Leyland led what happened in between.
Simon Walters from Cirencester preached on loving God with all your heart in the morning session. In the afternoon Simon Jones, minister of Bromley Baptist Church (pictured), spoke about the refugee situation, including his experiences of setting up the Peaceful Borders initiative in Calais.
There were discussion small groups, and art to express responses. There were short videos filmed of people speaking about what it meant to love God with your heart, soul and mind, which were then played in the closing session.
That session also featured a drama prepared acted out by the young people as delegates made the refugee commitment.
As well as the more serious and reflective parts, there was plenty of ‘silly games, dance competitions, quizzes and, doughnuts, loads of doughnuts,’ said Bob.
‘There was a lot in one day, and in sense, we were just getting going at the end,’ said Bob. ‘The punters were just getting into it. They listened, took part, asked questions. I think most had a decent day – they were encouraged to think about their faith, and how they put that into practice.’
He also spoke of how well the two groups of leaders worked together.
‘It was really impressive to see,’ he said. ‘I thought they did it really well. It’s biblical to give young people responsibility. We are preparing them for works of service. It’s amazing to think this group have now served at a national denomination event.’