This month it’s great to have a reflection on mission from Kathy Wood. Kathy is the Youth worker at Herringthorpe URC, in Rotherham. Her reflections from working with young people can easily apply to all of our mission.
Don’t Keep it a secret
I am not an expert on mission. But I do know that I wouldn’t be a Christian today if it wasn’t for the missional hearts of my parents, my childhood church, and youth workers. All of these people had something in common. They knew and loved Jesus, and weren’t keeping it to themselves!
I think we have a tendency to imagine that mission is too complicated, too scary or we have to do it perfectly! I think the most effective mission is when we live for Jesus – and we don’t keep it a secret. As human beings we mess up, but when we can be honest about the mess, Jesus shines through! We have a huge opportunity today to share our stories about the difference Jesus makes in our lives.
My passion is for young people, and I have worked with them all my life. I know what an impact my youth leaders had on me and I really want every young person to have the opportunity to hear about Jesus. I know that the message of the gospel is good news in the face of bullying, poor self-image, depression and anxiety and the many other issues our young people are dealing with.
In our youth work at Herringthorpe we are trying to reach out to the children, young people and families in our community. We have a big focus on building relationships and trust with young people. This seems to be paying off. Just recently our children and young people have started to be more open and to ask questions about our faith. Our mission is not to plan huge complicated mission events but to live for Jesus every day, and to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).
Honesty and trust
I’ve recently been thinking about the long-term investment that is needed in mission. I’ve been involved with things in the past where we’ve done one thing and it’s not gone very well. This has then been taken as a sign to stop. But mission usually means a long-term investment in people’s lives so they can trust us.
I am married to an evangelist who is passionate about talking to people about Jesus. I can’t do that as easily as him. But what I can do is to try and live honestly and openly every day following Jesus, and to be open to the opportunities that might come along.