On Friday (8 February) evening we took Encrypt (our 14-18s group) to Sorted by the Sea, an event run by the Sussex Gospel Partnership to get young people together for an evening of worship, games and a talk.
We were so encouraged by the number of our young people who turned up (16 in total from Encrypt).
The event was a great success, showing the Encrypters that there are many more young people like them walking with Christ.
The main aim of Friday’s event was to encourage the young people to keep going with Christ.
The talk was taken from John 15, ‘I am the vine,’ helping the young people understand that they need to be rooted in Jesus. It was brilliant to see our group getting stuck into the evening and enjoying meeting other young Christians.
Being a Christian isn’t easy, especially at school, and so events like this are such a blessing. They really help our young Christians to stand strong for their beliefs and know that Jesus is with them every step of the way.
Let’s pray that the event will grow and help young Christians to stand strong in faith rooted in Jesus.
A couple of the Encrypters gave me their thoughts on the event:
‘Got to meet loads of other Christians which was cool’ - Rosanna Curtis and Zoe Clark.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’. John 15:5
Have you ever read the book of Malachi in the Bible? It’s not a cheery read, but it is a very challenging and helpful book to dig into, and that’s what we did on the Encrypt Weekend Away this year.
On the Friday night of the start of half term, a few weeks ago now, eighteen members of our Encrypt group (aged 14-18) all piled into a minibus with bundles of luggage to set off for a weekend of fun, eating, discussion, singing, games, prayer, friendship, bible talks, activities, a variety of silliness, and much more!
Some of the highlights from the young people were:
‘I enjoyed the company of other Christians the most…’
‘We’ve had some really good worship sessions…’
‘The rock climbing and all the talks…’
‘The biscuits were nice!’
As for Malachi, Rupert Evans from All Saints’, Crowborough took us through the book, showing us what God was saying to the Israelites, and how that affects us today. He challenged us to live whole-heartedly for God, not keeping things back for ourselves. He showed us the great encouragement that God has chosen Christians to be his own, and so we can be sure that he loves us. He reminded us that the day of the Lord is coming and that we need to be ready, and he assured us with God’s words, ‘return to me and I will return to you,’ that we can always return to God and be forgiven and restored through Jesus Christ’s death.
We’re great believers in these weekends. They give a chance to take time away from the usual distractions and think through what God says to us. They’re great opportunities for deepening relationships and growing more united as a group. They’re also brilliant fun!
If the next weekend away can’t come fast enough, don’t worry – Venture’s coming in the summer. More on that soon…
It’s been a good start to the term for Pathfinders and Encrypt. We’re encouraged by the gentle swelling in numbers that we’ve had since we started in September, and particularly by the group who’ve been thoroughly involved in the Cornerstone service and have had the courage to invite their friends and bring them along.
It has been a great encouragement to the youth team to see a solid group of young people coming to POD our youth bible study on a Tuesday evening. It’s so exciting to see their faith grow as they learn more about the amazing things God has done for them and how He is with them every step of the way.
We are very much looking forward to the upcoming Encrypt weekend away (counting down the days). It’s a brilliant time for the young people to spend time with their Christian friends and learn more about our Lord and Saviour.
We would really value prayer for all the leaders as the youth groups grow, that we would know how to manage the numbers and use the opportunity to spread the gospel. Please also pray for the young Christians in our groups that they would have the courage to discuss the Good News with their friends.
Encrypt has changed quite dramatically over the last few months! In September we were sad to say goodbye to most of the Encrypt group. Almost all of the group completed their A level courses this summer and launched off into the world of university or work, leaving us behind with just one or two young people.
However, we have been hugely encouraged by a surge of newcomers joining in year 10. It’s been fantastic to see a core group of Pathfinders join Encrypt at the bottom and then start inviting their friends and becoming more and more committed. As the term has gone on, we’ve seen the group grow and grow as more friends come along, try it out, and then become regular members.
Some of the greatest encouragements have been in POD, the youth Tuesday night bible study. We’ve been digging into the book of Jonah, and seeing God’s amazing grace to people who don’t deserve his kindness, and a number of young people have started to come regularly since the weekend away at half term.
We’re so delighted with the growth in numbers and maturity of the Encrypt group - praise God for his goodness to us and his work in the lives of our young people! Please keep praying for us and for the young people of Lindfield and Haywards Heath, that God would be at work amongst them, bringing life, and that he would equip and empower us to serve him and them.