The Highwoods youth cafe has been running for almost a year now – the fruit of a collaborative mission to the young people of the estate by two local churches. It continues to thrive and I was there tonight helping out, working alongside a committed team and some wonderful young people who are finding faith in Christ.
Back in February after many months of preparation by two local congregations, the Methodist Church and an Anglican church plant, schools band Collective visited the local high school for a week to take assemblies, RE lessons, dance and drama lessons. At the end of the week we ran an event attended by about 300 young people that blended contributions from Collective and local youth workers. However, instead of a big preach and appeal, we concluded by inviting young people who wanted to know more to come the following week to a new weekly youth cafe run by local churches but also attended by the band. The next week about 40 came, many of whom stayed, some bringing new friends along.
At Easter the young people were asked if they would like it to continue and if so in what form. Their involvement at this stage paved the way for the continuation of the cafe to this day.
This model of mission follows on from a similar project we started in west Colchester, about which I’ve posted before, outlining the main reasons why this seems to work.
We’re currently working through what happens when cafe grows up. The west Colchester cafe is now 4 years old and the lives of the young people involved have all moved on loads. Many have become Christians and been baptised and are now part of one of the three partner churches. We’re trying to work out how to inspire a whole new missional perspective among these young adults.