One of the aims of our Eden teams is to see how God can use their gifts and skills to draw out the gifts and skills of others.
Karen, a member of Eden partner church St Peter’s Walsall, wanted to use her background in fashion design as a way to impact the community with the gospel. After talking with Eden team leaders Gav and Jem, she created an idea of a project for the local young people – The Plain White T’s Project.
With the help of Gav, Jem and one of the brilliant young leaders Sabah, Karen ran a three-day project where each young person was given a plain white t-shirt and learnt different skills and techniques from the fashion industry to transform the t-shirt in to their own design. Alongside the fashion techniques, the aim of this project was also to share how God designed each and every one of them and to show that He has amazing plans for their future.
Jem explains: ‘Our message to the young people was that nothing can stop us from being loved by God and we can be clothed with salvation. God has given us all great gifts and talents and as our maker he knows the best way for us to use them.’
For Karen, the reward was seeing the impact her idea had on the young people: ‘It was wonderful to help young people create their own designs and to see them start to realise that they themselves are designed and created by God. I don’t know who enjoyed it more – me or the young people that came!’
The impact of the project was evident among the young people. One young boy who attended has been isolated at school but over the three days he formed a new friendship with another boy from his school.
Another young person who attended really struggles to engage with school and work but at the project he put an incredible amount of effort in to his t-shirt, proudly protecting his new creation.
While the project was a great time of fun and friendship for the three days a lasting impact was also made in the community.
Jem shares: ‘On the final day we put on a fashion show in the church for parents and families to come to. We’ve been working with these young people for the past 18 months so it was incredible to see their families come to church for the first time. Karen’s brilliant idea has opened up more opportunities for us. We can’t wait to see more people share their ideas and skills to reach out to the families in our community.’
If you want to explore how God could use your gifts, skills and experience in Walsall or another team around the UK, we’d love to have a chat with you. Visit joineden.org to find out more.