Since beginning my role in September as a youth pioneer in Chard, my role has been focused on understanding what life is like for young people growing up and living in the area, and how this could shape how the church engages with young people in their own contexts. One key aspect of this process has been coming alongside existing youth work projects within Chard, supporting their work and at the same time getting to know young people in the area. This has been a great experience, and I feel that a lot of important relationship building has been able to happen as a result.
The next step is to look at how the church can step out in a project of its own to engage with young people and explore what Christian community might look like in a different way. I believe that the first part of this will be to deliver detached youth work in Chard, something that has been missing in the community for the past few years. Detached youth work is when we spend time with young people in the places they like to hang out in. There is no set activity or structure to the sessions, but rather opportunities to have conversations with young people, listen to their stories and be a positive presence for the time we are there, building relationships with young people on their own terms.
The aim is for there to be a team of volunteers who have been trained and ready to deliver this detached work in September. This means that between now and summer, the focus of the pioneer work will be towards building a team, praying together, and making sure that all necessary training and safeguarding checks are in place. The hope is that this project will be something that all churches in Chard can be a part of, and that together we will see God transforming lives and spaces in the community in powerful ways. There is plenty of space to come on board, and if you would like to be involved in some way then it would be great to have a chat about what that could look like. I’m certainly very excited about what God will be doing in young people’s lives and am looking forward to seeing where He takes us on this journey together.
I am also providing training and support for similar work in Ilminster and hope, soon, to be able to meet with members of churches in the villages who would like to undertake some outreach to their young people.
It goes without saying that I would appreciate your prayers for our young people, for the coming together of a team of volunteers and for where God will be leading us in the coming year.
Chard Youth Pioneer