For the last few years Eden Partington (Manchester) have been running a youth group called Tuesday Chill. It was created to be a safe place for 14-18 year olds to hang out, bake, do crafts, play table tennis, all of your regular youth group activities.
Sadly, behaviour got tricky, the police had to be called out several times and so the team made the difficult decision to close down the club. This meant there was now 40 or so young people on their estate who they were no longer directly working with. Karen, team leader, shares with how this summer God has opened doors to resolve this issue.
‘There was a group of girls who had a been asking big faith questions amid the other activities on Tuesday nights. We wanted the opportunity to spend more time with them but weren’t sure how this was going to happen without attracting the attention of their friends whose behaviour can be more difficult to manage.
‘One night, while we were out doing detached youth work, these girls approached us and asked “will you take us on holiday?” I think they were joking but they had actually provided us with the opportunity we were looking for. We chatted about the kind of holiday they wanted and they insisted on paying their own way. They just wanted to do something different to celebrate the end of their GCSEs. We decided to take them on a Haven holiday. The consent forms and deposits flooded in, along with phone calls from grateful parents to prove the signatures on the forms hadn’t been forged.
‘We headed off to Prestatyn (obviously via McDonalds). The girls had a great time. Enjoying the entertainment, going to the swimming pool, and going to the nearby seaside town and fairground. On the Saturday, one of Eden team spent time praying with the girls and presented each of them with a personal bible verse on the Saturday evening.
‘On the Sunday morning we felt that we hadn’t shared enough about God with the girls and so decided to go with the non-subtle approach. After we’d eaten brunch, we shared stories of the woman caught in adultery and Mary and Martha in the story of Lazarus. We chatted about what these stories showed about Jesus and how he feels about them and what he could do for the situations that they were facing. They let us pray for each of them individually and there was a lot of smudged mascara. There was no instantaneous mass conversion, no grand declarations of faith, but as they went to fix their hair and makeup they chatted among themselves about their thoughts and experiences of God.
‘We’re now hoping to set up a regular girls night in the new term and we’re really excited about how God is going to use it.’
Interested in joining Eden? Head to joineden.org to find out more.