While the challenges remain real and intimidating, we believe that one of the greatest opportunities afforded to us in our current climate, is the opportunity to focus on the small; to work with smaller groups of younger people.
Peter Thompson, the Centre Coordinator in Ballysillan YFC sums it up best when he says:
“Yes, Covid-19 has further exacerbated barriers to development with our young people, causing confusion and fear on many levels, chaos with people’s mental health, and a rise of drug and alcohol and domestic abuse. Underlying this is a lack of quality relationships, and a disruption of love and care leading to long-term problems. But an opportunity has arisen from this uncertainty in the push towards lots of small groups.”
A new focus on small groups in the Northern Ireland ministry will nurture growth and authentic relationships. The small groups will hopefully give greater time and energy to each individual, and will enable greater connections, which will in turn lead to greater stability and security while overcoming isolation and building resilience.
Small groups become tailored to meet each young person’s individual need; and in a less intimidating environment there is a greater ability to learn, be honest and be vulnerable.
Most exciting of all, small groups give greater opportunity to share the gospel and open up conversations about Jesus on a much deeper level. Already, the Friday night group has expressed a desire to journey in discovery of Jesus through an Alpha Course.