Introduction Blog-Who am I?
Wow, It seems so long ago now that I was elected Methodist Youth President at 3Generate 2014. Here I am now, sat in Methodist Church house, a week into the new job, writing my first blog. What a journey it has been and what an amazing journey it will continue to be. God has remained consistent and faithful through it all. I pray now that he would use me, that this role would be done in his strength and not mine, all for his glory.
I thought I would take this initial opportunity to introduce myself and give you some background information on your current Youth President. I was adopted at a very young age by a wonderful couple: Jane and Steve. My mum who is now a Methodist minister instilled Christian values in me and dragged (literally on some occasions) me to church on a regular basis. At the age of 10 I rebelled against this forced commitment to the Church and I refused to go. The only connection I had with Church was a youth club in Oadby, Leicestershire who ran summer camps once a year. At the age of 12 I gave my life to God and my life was changed; for all of about a week. Routines and old habits crept back in and life went back to normal. My faith and commitment to God vanished until the following years summer camp when I once again reaffirmed my commitment to Christ. This became a continuous cycle until I began my GCSE’s and I openly professed my faith to my friends. My faith became real, a daily relationship with God. This doesn’t mean that I stopped making mistakes, or that I was the perfect Christian- I definitely wasn’t! But I understood the love of God. The opportunity arose to do work experience during year 10 and I spent an amazing week working alongside St. Phillips Centre in Leicester who work developing inter-faith relations. This helped me grow in the knowledge of my faith and the acceptance of those around me. Later that year I went to Sweden with St. Phillips Centre, helping to begin an inter-faith programme in Gothenburg.
After GCSE’s we moved house, Mum had been ordained and her first appointment was 40 minutes away in Rugby. The busy town seemed a long way away from the quiet fields of Kibworth in rural Leicestershire. It was a hard time for us all, but God was at work. I began my A-levels at Lawrence Sheriff School, joined a rugby club and started a church. For the first time in ages I was regularly attending Church and enjoying it! I even started going twice a day! It was during this time that my faith matured, I began to grow and God began to reveal more of himself to me. Following the completion of my A-levels and after feeling God tell me no to go to university at Soul Survivor 2 summers previous, I planned to do what I always felt called to: work with young people. I had been doing voluntary youth work for just over two years by this point and I loved it, I felt God call me to go and bring ‘Hope to the hopeless’ in line with my passion for social justice and young people. What better place to do that than in Sierra Leone-West Africa. Six months later I was a changed man, I had seen so much. Volunteering in the slums outside Freetown led into Orphanage work in Panaji in India, throughout every new experience God revealed more of himself to me.
Prior to my work abroad I was part of the interviewing panel for a One Programme Participant in my local Methodist Church- during this process a member of the connexional team came to facilitate the interview, she told me about the programme, the Rep roles and the Youth President. It was from this moment- almost 2 years before I applied that God showed me the plan. I prayed into it, my mum prayed into it and we both felt God point towards the youth president role as where he wants me. Come November 2014, after lots of stress, panic and arguing with God, I was elected Youth President 2015/16. Since that time I have worked as a youth/schools worker, gone on trial as a local preacher, lead worship, done a social justice project with Tearfund and worked in a primary school. All this, I hope, will have prepared me for what lies ahead in this coming year. Above all I learnt- God is loving, faithful and has it all in control!
It would be my pleasure as Youth President to come and visit any events you have got going on in your local area. Please send me any invites to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see if we can fit them into my diary. (it’s filling up fast!)
For now, this is Craig, signing out!