Gathering a crowd
Beautiful women, good-looking men, car chases, action, adventure and a hero....
An excitable crowd gathers and a blaze of flashlights fire as Daniel Craig and
the other celebrities step out of expensive cars, walk down the red carpet, and
disappear into the Odeon Leicester Square. Wednesday 29th October will see the
premiere of the new Bond film 'Quantum of Solace'. Have you noticed that when a
crowd gathers you have those who want to be there, who know what is going on,
and those who see a crowd and join at the back, trying to find out what is happening.
In Mark’s gospel (chapter 3 v.7-12) we read of a crowd who followed Jesus to Lake
Galilee. They came from the surrounding cities, towns, villages and territories to
see Jesus because they had heard of the things he was doing. In the Gospels, we
read of this charismatic man drawing a crowd – people wanting to find out more. On
this particular occasion the crowd must have been pushing, jostling and shoving,
wanting to be healed. Even the evil spirits proclaimed who he was. Jesus, trapped
against the shore, asks his disciples to get a boat ready to stop him being crushed
(v.9). Immediately after this scenario Jesus retreated up a hill and called those
men he wanted. He then chose the twelve apostles; these were the men with whom
Jesus would share his life, who would preach, heal and who would have authority over
evil spirits. Jesus would live his life, develop relationships and share his
journey and the adventure with them.
In the youth ministry at Christ Church through the Saturday night projects of 'Base'
and 'Base Plus' we have been 'drawing a crowd'. I am sure the young people come for
many varied and different reasons: for something to do, to see their friends and to
come to a place that is safe and familiar. The vision behind 'Base' and 'Base Plus'
was to set up a 'first base', a first contact point with the church and it has
achieved this aim. Our next challenge is to seek to give the young people who attend
a chance to explore Christianity. During November and the first week of December we
are running 'Quest', a fast paced, action packed DVD based 'adventure' that through
relevant teaching, 'vox pop' interviews and questions, facilitates young people to
find out more about who Jesus is. Through this, we aim to move young people from
being part of a 'crowd' to those who want to start the journey and adventure of
discipleship. This idea ties into our existing discipleship programme of 'pod'
(places of discipleship) groups. Through these groups, young people discover more
about who Jesus is and what it means to live a life that honours Him. As Jesus lived
alongside his disciples, deep relationships and a sense of community must have developed.
The vision and mission of the youth ministry is to be devoted to Christ and passionate
about community and we aim to move young people 'one step' closer to Jesus, through
relational discipleship and the creation of community.
Through all the youth projects (Base, Base Plus, Pathfinders, Juice, Pods, I:Gen and
Passion) we seek to provide environments where relationships and community are built,
not only between young people, but between the young people and the leaders. This over
time (often many years), leads young people to journey towards and discover God and
to begin to participate in church life. As I consider the youth ministry at Christ
Church, the most 'fruitful results' have come from when young people move from being
in a 'crowd' to forming relationships with significant adults who are authentic in
Unlike the neat red carpet, the glamour and the immaculately turned out celebrities at
the premier this Wednesday, work with young people is often un-glamorous and hard work.
My prayer is that the 'crowd' we have gathered will move towards discovering Jesus as
a 'hero' who is passionate about them and who asks them and us to join with him on his
adventure. This may or may not be action packed, but it will certainly be life giving,
fulfilling and sustaining.