After two and a half years The Mix finally came to an end on Sunday night. The Mix was a monthly youth worship event hosted by St. John’s church but involving youth leaders and youth groups from across the town. A typical evening featured a worship band, and about three different zones offering different worship or learning experiences, each led by a different group of young people or their leaders. People could get to any two of the different zones during an evening.
This format was typical but not exclusive. On one occasion we turned the whole building into a seven zone interactive worship experience with various activities, reflection and meditation but no worship band. On other occasions we went for a traditional linear programme with everyone staying in for a talk followed by a bit of interactive response.
Why the decision to stop? For all its successes, The Mix worked hard to overcome some inherent difficulties, mainly the challenge of maintaining a planning group with sufficient momentum that included the young people for whom it was intended. We did not want to slip back into a ‘producer/consumer’ relationship where a small group of (probably) older youth leaders put on an event for young people.
However, over time involvement has slipped, planning has become harder, and The Mix has lost some of it’s cutting edge.
Now we feel it’s time for a change and, for all the great memories, time for something new.
Here are some of the things I believe we have gained:
– New young worship bands have had opportunities to hone their gifts in the presence of friends and in a supportive atmosphere.
– Youth groups and youth leaders have mixed, shared ideas and generally noticed that there are more young Christians in Colchester than they might have imagined.
– There’s been a wealth of creative ways to engage with God, his word and his world, many of which would not have been possible without The Mix as a place for them.
– Youth leaders have commented that their young people have grown as a result of attending and getting involved.
The extensive community involved in making The Mix happen that has built up over the years continues, linked by, among other things, The Mix email group. On Sunday many came with a clear sense that God had brought us to an end, but also to a beginning.
A seed has fallen into the ground and died – something new is springing up.