Have you ever been involved in something for so long, but not know your place? Well this is the story of a young girl and her journey navigating church and how she grows in her faith whilst dealing with different life circumstances.
During my work in North Gloucester I have encountered a large number of children and young people, largely through using sport as that tool. One such group is a pop-up football session that was started one raining November Saturday morning in 2017, with the aim to reach out on behalf of the church into the local community. Over time the group grew from 1 to a solid 10-12 each week, and one of these such youth was a young girl aged 13. She enjoyed football but remained quiet for most of the session. She had been referred to it by her local vicar as she was involved in the circles of church but didn’t feel she could express herself fully through those means. Her love of football was clear for the eye to see, and I could see the embers of faith in her as she occasionally expressed her church background and an interest in Jesus.
Initial contact turned to her serving on our local Sports Holiday Club as a young leader. Giving her that outlet to work with kids alongside local vicars brought her faith out into limelight, and we saw her sharing faith, both her struggles and her encouragements in front of all whom she met.
From her serving with us, to being discipleship by us as she came along to our 5-day residential in the summer and flourished amongst other teenagers who call themselves Christian. She has continued to be a source of authenticity and light in places where young people are still closed off.
What was initially just a meet within a local park has developed by Gods grace into a faithful and encouraging relationships between us as a church and her. This story is by no means a finish article, and my prayer is the Lord will continue to journey with her in her pursuit of identity in her life. Christ remains with her, and she is a real source of encouragement to me that young people do want to share, discuss and wrestle with the many influences they have in their lives.