As this is a live blog please excuse any spelling, grammar and typo mistakes.
Tonight in Big Room 1 we’re going to hear from Tamsin Evans who founded Pure Creative Arts in 2003, after graduating from LIPA with a 1st Class BA Hons degree in Performing Arts. She has over nine years experience pioneering, growing and leading the team from three people to 45, and brings clear vision and direction. Tamsin is passionate about seeing transformation in the lives of young people and releasing each member of the team into their potential. As well as leading Pure, Tamsin speaks at events, has pioneered another youth initiative called ta180 and mentors a number of women.
We’re kicking of Youthwork the conference 2014 with Dot Tyler and Damian Wharton helping us to play some ‘Would you rather?’.
Now passed onto Helen Godwin and Phil Knox who are part of the conference planning team.
Why do we do what we do? We believe in Jesus, we believe young people can be spectacular and do crazy things. But it is hard. We will not give up. There may be a day when the church gives up on reaching young people but it is not today as we believe in Jesus and we believe that young people can be spectacular. 86% of people who chose to follow Jesus make a decision before the age of 25 so churches should spend 86% of their home mission budget on children’s and youth ministry. We will reach up to God, reach in to ourselves, reach out to young people and reach forward to understand and engage with the future of youth culture so we can be more effective.
Be ruthlessly selfish to connect with Jesus, yourself and one another.
As we move into a time of worship Helen reads Psalm 100:
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Beth Croft and her band are kicking off our worship. :
To you our hearts are open
nothing here is hidden,
You are our one desire
You alone are holy,
only You are worthy
God let Your fire fall down
Now moving into When I survey the wondrous cross.
Sharon Prior from Moorlands College who sponsored the wonderful travel mug in our goody bags is sharing something of the different courses they run. Dot is highlighting the prayer space run downstairs – do check it out. Tonight there’s social time in the Bistro to chat, catch up with old friends, make new friends!
Spending a moment praying for one young person in each of our youth groups sharing what’s your heart’s desire for them.
Now back to Beth and the band. We’re joining in singing ‘Christ alone cornerstone’, and now “I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on … still I will praise you.”. Phil Wickham’s ‘Beautiful’ has such powerful lyrics: “When we arrive at eternity’s shore where death is just a memory and tears are no more”
Such a wonderful hymn, In Christ Alone: “no power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand till he returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”
Damian is introducing Tamsin Evans, tonight’s speaker. She’s written her first book looking at identity in Christ, which is due out in March 2015.
Tonight we’re thinking about reaching up to a powerful and mighty God. Passionate about helping young people discover God and the fullness of life that comes through him.
Various members of the Pure Creative Arts team are going to share different bits. Rael James Mason kicks off with a powerful spoken word about some of the young people in his youth group.
Everyone of us here has countless stories of young people we meet every day, who we’re praying to God for. We wanted to start off by thinking about the different lives we’re coming here to in our mind. Some of us might be incredibly excited, and others who feel like you’re stuck or just have incredibly difficult situaitons. But God is here, we can reach up to Him, nothing is impossible for Him.
Let’s start by remembering how incredible our God is: Psalm 106:1-2
Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?
Who can ever praise him enough?
Want to start by reminding us of God’s faithfulness. Want to be fuelled tonight by God.
As the Israelites come out of Egypt they come to the Red Sea, Moses puts his staff down and they walk through the sea! But then they walk around in the wilderness and they forget who God is. Verse 7 reminds us they forgot who he was. Food came from the sky – he provided for every need – and yet so soon they moan and want to go back to Egypt.
Verses 13-14 – they tested God’s patience in the dry wasteland. When Moses went to get the commandments from God, they bugged Aaron for something to worship. They built a golden calf – we use perspective and think how silly they were – and yet how quickly do we forget God in our own circumstances. Laughing as stuck on the M25 for 3 hours – it looked impossible – there was no way out – but perspective tells us something has to change.
When Tamsin first felt God saying to set Pure up, she said she’d take one step and he had to open the door. People after people got put into her path with issues that God had laid on her heart.
A girl had bulimia, had issues but never had an issue with eating. Facing this girl struggling with all these issues and Tamsin had no experience. They met for coffee, and over time she saw God working in the situation. Psalm 139 she is fearfully and wonderfully made and you want her to know that. Over time, week after week, with starting contests over coffee, she developed a piece of theatre which was the first touring piece. She joined the Pure team from a place of something that looks impossible.
The next girl was a lovely girl who would literally knock on Tamsin’s door to meet up. She’d met a guy on the train and he offered her some coke and she’d do a line; other times she’d randomly sleep with a stranger etc. No idea what to do with her except to be with her and love her. One evening at a youth group meeting she disappeared and locked herself in the bathroom and was trying to take an overdose. After a while she let Tamsin in but she was incredibly angry. Tamsin spoke God’s love over her, but she went to try and get toilet cleaner to drink. She raised her arm to hit Tamsin, but stopped. She moved away and so Tamsin doesn’t know the end of the story.
One of the challenges of youth work is we don’t always know the outcome of our input. God doesn’t ask us to know or be in control he asks us to trust him with people’s lives.
Watching another performance piece. Think about the different situations young people face – there is a powerful God that lvoes them, who sees the dreams and the potential in them. Not here tonight to say if we reach up to God it will all be easy, but we know that God is powerful. Where we see a locked cage, he sees an open door.
Performing a piece on SRE linked to abuse, a girl ran out and was crying uncontrollably. She was afraid, scared and hysterical. Praying to God asking for wisdom as she spoke to her. The girl said can’t tell you. She indicate it was about rape.
Told her about a girl Tamsin knew who had been raped and how she had got through that situation with support, counselling etc., and bit by bit her life changed. After an hour or so, she said “I can’t tell you anything because it won’t change anything.”
Eventually agreed if it wasn’t happening and ongoing they could talk without needing to tell others. When she eventually disclosed she was completely different, like a weight off her shoulders. Began to tell her about God and how he loves her, and wants to help with what was in her life. In that moment, which is rare, they were able to pray, which was incredible. What was important was someone stepping in and stir faith for something else, reaching up for God even though she didn’t know God. Spoke to the school, got her support and mentoring to ensure it was followed up, but it was an incredibly powerful moment.
It can be so easy to be overwhelmed by what we see. We are so passionate for young people. So often it feels impossible, but God calls us to partner with him to work together.
Matthew 14:22-33 – Peter sees Jesus walking on water. He asks Jesus to tell him to come, so Peter being exciteblae steps out of the boat and begings to walk on waer, doing the impossible. As long as he keeps his eyes on Jesus it is possivle, but as soon as he looks at the wind and the waves the htings that make it look impossible he begins to sink. God is saying look up, reach out for me, understand what is going on but don’t get bombarded by what is going on, nothing is impossible for me, you are you and I am God, and you don’t know as much as I do. God is saying what is your impossible, what is your water – he is saying come step out to me.
Praying at a prayer meeting, gave a nice word about turn around and how powerful God is and a girl runs out in hysterics. There was blood everywhere on the sofa and the floor. She ran to the bathroom and was 11 weeks pregnant and was losing her baby. Held her and said she was so sorry. Asked others to call an ambulance and the girl’s husband. Felt challenged by what she’d been previously saying and the situation and said “Tamsin what do you think you are doing, start speaking faith into the situation” Started praying over the womb. But what if she loses the baby and can never come back to her house or even church. But God I know what you can do. Bit by bit the husband came, the ambulance came with a wheelchair still losing loads of blood. As a group of leaders said it wasn’t how the evening was going to end. She said they had told her to prepare herself for the worst; then they told her they wouldn’t scan until tomorrow as likely to have miscarried; then when they examined her they found her womb was closed and when they scanned her they found a heartbeat and a healthy baby. She’s now a little girl, Mia who has just turned 3.
We have to say Lord I lift my eyes to you as you are where my help comes from. We want to see it God’s way. In our imperfections God makes us perfect. I use Gideon who is scared and the weakest of his clan – it doesn’t matter as I am God.
Going to look at one last performance as we look at how we reach up to God. So often when we get busy it is easy to fail to take the time to spend time with him to listen to what he says. We need to daily meet with him. It is so easy for this to slip. Jesus modelled this for us, he needed to go away and be refreshed by the Father. Wanted to think about how easy it is for us to conform, to get stuck in a rut, and in the monotony of life. God calls us out of this and to keep our eyes on him and not on the water and the circumstances.
So easy for us to get into striving and struggling ourselves and God just wants us to let go. What are the ties, what is holding you back:
- Disappointment – disappointed in God
- Disapproval – feels like others disapprove but God reminds you that he calls you his child
- Disbelief – can God really do it, like the father in the Bible who says I really want to believe will you help me with my unbelief.
Beth and the band lead us in a time of worship: “Oh how I need you Lord, You are my only hope. You’re my only prayer. So I will wait for You to come and rescue me. Come and give me life.”
Not going to do a big response but a chance for you and God to meet. Praying for freedom for people tonight, loosening the chains of oppression that hold people back from running in the way you have created. Set them free from anything that limits how they can reach out to young people.
Great words of worship “Hold on, I’ll hold on to the cross, love so amazing, love so divine, hold on, I’ll hold onto the cross.”
We’re closing up our first session here. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning.