“You used to come to my school”

MyschoolWe’d set up for an assembly in a local school and all the students had arrived with their relevant form tutors. The form tutor nearest to me, a young woman in PE department regulation tracksuit leant over and said, “I remember when I you used to come into my school and take assemblies.” Crumbs… I remember her as a Year 10 girl and now the girl’s a teacher!!

This stands alongside my encounter with the guy behind the bar who, whilst serving me, said pretty much the same; “I remember you coming in to take assemblies.” I asked him which school he used to go to, thinking my way round the local secondary schools that we visit. “Eight Ash Green Primary School,” he said. So, that that would be at least 7 years ago.

Then there was the party of 20-somethings dressed as pirates who stopped to point me out as ‘that guy that used to take our assemblies’ and then proceeded to tell me that it had really made him think and that although he wasn’t a Christian we should keep doing what we do in schools.

From such encounters I draw two likely conclusions.
1. God may be telling me it’s time to pass the mantle to someone else (which is why we’ve appointed a new schools worker), but I’m not completely sure yet…
2. More importantly, these visits to schools make a positive and apparently lasting impact. It continues to amaze me that young adults often come up to us to tell us how much they appreciated what we did in their schools, even several years later.

We may not always see tangible fruit from our work with schools, but these encounters suggest we’re still making a difference. What challenges me most is how we go beyond making a difference to making disciples. One radical thought… we may need to extend our work to include 20-somethings.

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3 Responses to “You used to come to my school”

  1. Pete Lev says:

    I had the same thing from a check outat Tesco – the checkout girl remebered me from schools work I used to do.
    I think it shows the importance of long term commitment to an area, which is why short term appointments in youth ministry are a less than ideal thing.

  2. Chris says:

    I agree with Pete’s comment. I think it shows the benefit of longevity. It is great when the parents of the young people we are working with remember us from their school days. Having recently been given a permament contract at the church where I work I am excited about the opportunities to do something like 10 years and to take the 7 year olds I am working with right through school.

  3. Tim Abbott says:

    Pete – yes, it’s definitely some kind of vindication of the value of a long term approach. But I admit I’m still amazed that they say hi rather than ignoring me! The challenge we’re working through at the moment is how to take these positive but slightly superficial contacts and connect these young people / young adults with Christ and his church – I suppose, to move from being interesting to being missional.
    Chris – fantastic news about the permanent contract and big respect for being prepared to make that kind of long term commitment. I love your obvious excitement about the prospect of seeing these young people through to young adulthood. Go for it!

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