Forgiveness – 15+ Weekend In

On the Saturday morning of the weekend in we looked at forgiveness, where we heard a story that challenged both young people and leaders on how we deal with past hurts. We saw so many young people take the first step towards forgiving people who had hurt them. It was so encouraging to see.  

The first thing to understand when we are looking at forgiveness, is that we are forgiven. No matter what we have done, or will do in the future, if we bring it to God we will be forgiven. Jesus explained this beautifully in the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32) We see that as we turn away from God, like the younger son, then realise our mistake and turn back, we can be safe in the knowledge that he is running to welcome us home. We understand that Jesus died for our sins so that we may be forgiven, and be brought back into his family. However, do we sometimes find our selves felling like the things that others do surpass our own sin, so much that they don’t deserve our forgiveness? 

This is where we may become the older son, someone who sees others sins as worse than ours, sin that doesn’t deserve our own, and maybe even God’s, forgiveness. We read in Matthew 6:14 that “if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” This is a verse that we often use to say that because we are forgiven we must forgive others. However, there is a certain amount of condition implied in this verse. That IF we forgive THEN we will be forgiven. So our forgiving others will then cause us to be forgiven our selves. It is the opposite to how we often use the verse. We must forgive to then be forgiven.  

This can put pressure on us, that we have forgive people who have caused us pain in our own strength, which means that what happened to us suddenly becomes okay. But that isn’t what forgiveness is about. Forgiveness should take a huge pressure off us. When we hold a grudge, something is hardened in us. We may hold feeling of dislike against this person, it might cause us to gossip about them, or even not like to hear their name mentioned. These are things that drag us down, and stand in the way of the person that God has created us to be, and that prevent us from living life to the full.  

If we talk to God about these people we find hard to forgive, and submit it to him, he can help us to begin the first steps of forgiving someone. I’m not saying that it always happens over night, or that it is easy. But if we make a choice to, with God, forgive that person each day, over and over again, one day we will wake up and not need to try to forgive them any more, because the weight will be gone, and we will have forgiven them.

Perseverance – 15+ weekend in

The AfterChurch youth group recently had the Weekend In, it was an incredible time; we saw God do some fantastic things in the lives of the young people and leaders. The theme was Hebrews 12 and running the race. We had guest speakers in to share their testimonies. These guys were so inspirational in what they shared, vulnerability can be so powerful.

The first night was a really big night for the young people, as the testimony was about perseverance in faith which really hit home with the vast majority of us. This is a really important aspect of faith, continuing on when the storms hit. Our theme verses for the weekend said this; “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith”. These verses highlight that in order to persevere we must focus on Jesus.

The Christian walk involves work.

It compels us to give up what damages our relationship with God, to go further on our path patiently, and to fight against sin with the Holy Spirit. We will stumble if we don’t keep our eyes on Jesus, or if we stare ourselves or at the circumstances surrounding us. We need to be fixed on Him, because we are running for Him. When we face hardship and discouragement, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. But we’re not alone; there is help. This means that we have to accept our short comings and allow God to help us. By looking to Jesus in vulnerability and admitting that we need Him we persevere; not for our own gain, but for His glory.

Humility before God is such an important attribute because it allows us to come to God with all the things that separate us from Him and put them to one side as we focus solely on Him. Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me) is one of the most misinterpreted verses of scripture. We often put the emphasis on the ‘I can do all things’ and ‘strengthens me’. This is not the way we should read this, but instead we should be seeing the magnitude of ‘through Christ’. We can do all things when we allow God to equip us and we give God our time to focus on Him and what He wants for us. Like Jesus says in Luke 18 ‘What is impossible with man is possible for God’. We have to humble ourselves before God with all our sins, misplaced priorities and life and offer it all over to Him, change the direction of our gaze, and keep on going.

Mark Wakefield – Create team

Youth Ministry Update – Claire Hardy

So things have wound down in YCC youth work for the Summer, we finished on the weekend of the 19th July with parties in all of the youth groups and a great trip to the beach with the older youth.

We now go quiet for the summer whilst we pray and dream about the next year of youth work and will be back in September!

We have had an amazing Summer term with the young people in YCC and our highlights have been:

  • Seeing 8 of the young people being baptised in the sea at West Bay and hearing their stories of what God has done in their lives
  • Starting a Youth Alpha follow on group for those who became Christians during Youth Alpha and seeing them grow in their faith and wanting to carry on next year!
  • Taking young people on three camps- a girls camp called Inside Out Beauty, a boys camp called Live Football and taking boys and girls to an activity camp called Spree! Camps are always a great opportunity to get to know young people more and to see them growing in their faith, wherever they may be on the journey.

This Summer a few of our older young people are helping us lead the Youth venue at New Wine Week Two and then there are 24 of us going to Soul Survivor, a youth festival at the Bath and West Showground with over 8000 young Christians! We are really looking forward to going away together and would love your prayers for God to do amazing things in the young people’s lives.

When we look back on the last year of youth work it is incredible to see all that God has done, the prayers he has answered and the transformation we see in young people’s lives and we look forward to seeing all the young people when we return in September, and can’t wait to see all God will do next year.

– Claire

Youth, What We Do – Update

It is such a privilege to see all that is happening in the young people at YCC this year.

For those of you who may not know, we run a few different youth groups for young people at YCC

For 11- 14 year olds we do:

LIVIN IT LARGE  on Sunday mornings during the service we learn about Christianity by looking at the bible, discussing questions we have, spending time with God through prayer, as well as playing games and getting to know each other

ILLUMINATE on Friday evenings where we hang out with friends, get tuck from the tuck shop, have a time of team games and competition, and a short time where we explore Christianity through talks, stories, videos and more, and then there is time to hang out with friends with optional workshops including sport, craft, creative or play on our air hockey table, pool, table tennis wii etc!

YOUTH ALPHA on Friday nights before Illuminate this term which is a great opportunity for young people interested in Christianity to find out more.

WORSHIP ACADEMY on Tuesday afternoons where young people come and play their instruments as part of being in a worship band.

For 15-18 year olds we do:

AFTER CHURCH on Sunday evenings with food, games, time learning about God through teaching, discussion, worship, prayer and more. We also have time to hang out by playing sport, being creative, playing games, chatting with each other or playing on the air-hockey, pool or table football tables!

15+ SOCIALS which happen once a month on a Wednesday night for young people to have great fun but also an opportunity to bring friends to get to see what we do.

WORSHIP ACADEMY for 15- 18 year olds where they become part of a worship band

LEADERSHIP ACADEMY where young people grow in their leadership potential.

MENTORING is also a big part of what we do for 15-18 year olds, we have 25 young people in this age group who have a mentor.

We see roughly 95 young people a week, and most of them more than once a week! It is a real privilege to get to know the young people, to build relationships with them and to be able to help them spiritually, but also to be there for them when hard times come.

Claire Hardy – Youth Leader at YCC


Youth Highlights – Update

A couple of weeks ago in Youth alpha we asked everyone where they were at in terms of starting a relationship with God. Three of the young people shared how they were close to becoming a Christian, but were just thinking about the decision.

Jade got baptised a few Sundays ago, she joined our youth group 3 years ago through a friend from an un churched background. 3 years later she is much more confident in herself, has a real love for God and is now a part of the Create team

In After Church we have been focused on prayer this term as YCC was doing the 24/7 prayer weekend. One week all the young people were asked to make a prayer list and to pray for each person every day for a week. One of the young people was praying for her brother to get a job, and at each interview stage was praying for him until two weeks after the set the prayer list challenge he got the job!

In January we did a ‘Black out’ with Livin it large where we did a screen fast for 24 hours to raise money for the persecuted church. Whilst doing it we had a sleepover and spent time praying for persecuted Christians and understanding the issues they face. It was eye opening for the young people and when we asked them what had impacted them through doing it they said it made them value how easy it is to go to church and to be a Christian in this country, it made them value how much their family supports them, and grateful for the life they lead and they wanted to keep praying and raising awareness of peoples situations around the world.

The 15-18 year olds joined YCC for their weekend camping at The GateWay for 24/7 prayer. It was so great seeing all the generations mixing together, and getting to know each other. The young people encountered God on this weekend especially through the prayer walking and hearing God as part of the Saturday night meeting. It was especially so kind that the adults made such a point of thanking the youth for being involved.

We would appreciate your prayers for all of the young people at YCC, and for the team that volunteer their time to support them.

For more information please contact Claire Hardy, Youth Leader at YCC on 01935 433146, thank you.


Youth work professional development day

We are running a networking event for youth workers involved in the local church. Featuring teaching from Ali Etheridge – Leader of SoulNet, youth workers support from Soul Survivor.

The event is on Monday 27th January from 10am – 1pm.
This will be an opportunity to get to know other youth workers from around, connect, share ideas, thoughts and get input.

Run in partnership with SWYM (south west youth ministries) and Urban Warriors

This free event is open to all.

The Gateway
Addlewell lane
BA20 1QN

For more information comment below or email or call 01935 433146.

Join the event on Facebook here: