John Walker's Electronic House

by on Jun.26, 2005, under The Rest

Well, that’s it. I’m not a youth worker any more.

I’ve finished college.


It was my last day of youth work today. This morning was a family service, in which we had lots of the young people involved, and an amazing number attending. Apparently somewhere between 30-40 young people were there. Compare this to a regular family service where there are at most about eight.

I did the talk/sermon – whatever you want to call it. It was weird, trying to think what to say as a last thing ever. And I realised that I didn’t want to do a talk aimed at the young people attending. I wanted to do a talk to the body of the church, when they could see all the young people in front of them. I talked about how a Christian is someone who doesn’t judge by appearance, but someone who welcomes strangers in. And then into what? The body of Christ – something I described as nothing more complicated than a group of people, who love God, and love people, serve God, and serve people. How a body of a church is made up of people who never assume that someone else will check that someone’s ok, but checks themselves. People who never assume that someone else is helping, but help them themselves. People who never don’t ask for help when they need it.

And then I had the young people come and stand at the front of the church. I had planned to do this. I hadn’t planned for there to be so many, and it to look so awesome to see them all standing there. It made me gulp. I told them that they were servants to the people in front of them. A few parents mumbled “yes!”. I then turned around and told the church, “and you are their servants.” I then asked for anyone who was involved in the youth work, who led a group of any age, from Sunday School to Quake (our teenage group), who had ever helped out in any way, to stand at the front with the young people. Wonderfully, more people were stood up than sat down. I told those people that they were the servants to the church, and that they had already served so much. I then turned to the rest and told them that they were servants to those people. And, “It’s time to start serving.”

If the last thing I do encourages some people to start looking out for each other more – recognising that being a church means being a body of people who love and serve each other – then I leave happy.

Except I don’t. I leave sad. The truth is, I’ve been looking forward to leaving for a long time. I need a break. I love youth work, but six years of it without a pause, with a degree at the same time, and of course the writing: I’ve exhausted myself. But of course, now it’s over, the reality that I won’t be working with those young people any more sinks in. I will miss them a great deal. Even the horrible ones. Who are never really all that horrible.

So, as of tomorrow, the weird thing is I don’t really know what I am. I’ve given myself the summer to figure it out.

5 Comments for this entry

  • Tim R

    Can’t think of any more important, nor more powerful thing to say, and the best thing is that you’ve said it most often without words (even you!) simply by serving selflessly. Well done.

  • Feet

    +100 Respect points for Mr Walker

  • David

    Take a break but please think about doing it again, one day. I guarantee that if you make a difference for one person then they’ll appreciate more than you (or even they) know. And don’t worry about the future, God’s got a plan.

  • DAT500

    God’s away on business.

  • David

    Then he delegates the task to you.