Something a Little Different

Those of you who follow this blog will know that I write about my research into young adult faith, aiming to help church leaders and youth workers understand younger generations better. 

However, what I’d like to do during the Covid 19 pandemic is something a bit different. I’d love to provide a place for young adults to voice what is going on with them. Yes, it will be interesting for me to hear as a researcher but actually I’m posting this more with my pastoral head on; how are young Christians doing in all the uncertainty of this season?

With that in mind I’m going to post a short vlog asking a couple of questions every two weeks or so, and ask young adults aged 17/18 – 30ish (though I’m not that precious about age boundaries) to tell me how they are finding things and what is going on with their life and faith. 

All comments will be mediated so that the feed is respectful and constructive. One of the reasons for using this site is to make it a bit more discreet than social media and thus hopefully filter out some of the less helpful input. 

So, it’s an experiment… have a watch of the first vlog and if you are a young adult and would like to comment please do and forward the link to your friends. Alternatively, or I you are a bit older and think it would be helpful for any young Christians you know then please do forward it to them, whether in the UK or beyond. I’d love to both create a supportive community and allow those of us who are a bit older to see how those we care about are really finding life and faith right now. 

Grace and Peace to you – wherever you are and however you are doing. 

Ruth 

Comments

  1. Jared Littlewood says:

    Hiya, I’m a youth pastor in Dorset, 29 and live with a house mate. Do I fit the demographic you’re looking for? I don’t feel that young anymore haha.

    Look forward to hearing from you,

    Be blessed!

    Jared.

  2. Abbie says:

    Great idea Ruth!

    I’m feeling ok at the moment about it all. I think at first, it was a bit anxiety provoking to think about the impact that this is going to have on lots of aspects of life. Worrying about family members that could potentially be at a higher risk, worrying about not meeting client hour requirements for my course, worrying about what it would mean for work – how I could do it from a distance whilst trying to manage my thoughts about how I should be working vs. my organisation’s requirements. I think as time has been going on, these anxieties have stilled a bit as things have become a bit clearer, some of those questions have been answered, and a new routine has been established. But of course they still crop up!

    I’m living with two good friends, so the being stuck at home together has actually meant quite a nice amount of time has been spent with them. We’re all Christians, and have started praying together regularly in the mornings, which has been a real joy. I think this means that I haven’t felt the sense of isolation in the way I imagine some people are.

    I’m currently working and studying, and I’ve got a balance of staying at home to study and for work part of the time. Because I work with the homeless, doing front line work, I’ve been going into work to provide an adjusted service. I’ve actually really appreciated the opportunity to keep on doing this, as it gives me an opportunity to leave the house but also I feel a bit helpless to provide the support that our clients usually receive, from home. It feels as if it’s been a bit of escapism from the situation to go into work.

    In terms of impact upon church life, it’s been great to start up regular prayer times with my housemates. My church are also streaming live services and our life groups are continuing virtually. I’m also part of a book club with some girls from church, so it’s been nice to make that more of a regular thing, and meet with them to discuss what we’ve been reading, but also life. The church is also in the process of facilitating triplet groups to keep one another accountable and so that we can check in with prayer requests. I’ve been able to be in contact with close Christian friends, both from within my church and outside of my church – sharing with them and praying with them.

    In terms of my personal prayer life and relationship with God, I think my faith definitely brings me comfort in the midst of this situation. Knowing God and His presence with me reassures me that I can trust in one who is bigger than what we see. I’m finding myself living in the tension of wanting to spend more time with Jesus in this season, to make the most of the extra time that I have, but also not necessarily finding myself doing this.

  3. Hannah says:

    Hello Ruth,

    Thank you so much for asking this question. I think it’s tricky for us to express our feelings towards it all, I’d like to think we’re a fairly attuned generation to the inauthenticity on media, fairly competent at spotting fake news, we’re adaptable and flexible with change of habits/ activities and not afraid to spend some time alone (so long as the wifi doesn’t go out). Whilst I’m sure many think we are invulnerable to any diseases (myself included), I don’t think many of us quite realised the toll it would take on us physically, emotional and spiritually.

    I work for a charity that gets churches involved in social action to support those who experience injustice and inequality. We facilitate projects that include a holiday hunger provision programme, modern slavery awareness and more but it’s difficult to do a lot of the work we do when the church buildings are closed and the teams we usually support have to isolate due to being in a vulnerable age. It’s meant lots of coordinating things remotely with our Church Together groups, denomination leads and secular organisations like the council. We work closely with our CafE Diocese but often find a bit of disconnect, now due to tools like Telegram, Whatapp, Facebook Groups and Zoom, we’re actually feeling a bit connected than we usually do as we’re in an equal playing field.

    I’m passionate about digital mission and ministry to build fellowship, share the gospel and make disciples, so this is a hugely exciting time for me. I work on the digital comms for my church but have started talking to other churches about supporting them in their digital needs. It’s such a fantasist time to reach people we wouldn’t usually be able to speak to, not just those who wouldn’t normally come to church but those who physically can’t. We are finally realising that church isn’t a building and only a gathering of people on a Sunday. It’s all the time, any time, no matter the size of the group, the type of people. It’s our hearts that matter. But also I look around at the normal Sunday morning services or any faith related event that isn’t child/family focused and it makes me sad that I usually one of the youngest in the room. I’m 28 and I don’t think I’m that young. Where are the others of my generation? Church isn’t reaching them, we communicate digitally, we like meeting in person but also we want to talk, to share, to laugh, to cry with those we are close to and often that means through social media and that is fine for us. Changes to society means we can’t always met at the same time or on a traditional time, now a Sunday morning means work so we have to meet in the evening for church now. Lockdown has meant churches now can consider how we communicate with the isolated, the vulnerable, the busy, the quiet, the young and healthy in a new way. Church will never be the same again.

    I’m blessed, I live with my husband in a fairly big house with a bit of out space so whilst he has the next few weeks off due to shop he works in closing during lockdown, I can work in my home office. It’s nice for us to be able to spend a bit of time together, more than we usually would. Taking the dog out is our daily exercise and the empty streets means the bird songs are so much louder now. I’m gratefully for the good weather we’ve had, finally feels like spring is on the way. I’m so gratefully for my house group chat group, we’re all under 35 most with dogs and some form of ministry on our hearts, they are of great comfort to me and we’ve supported each other through the ups and downs.

    But as I started with, the impact has been unexpected. I read somewhere about the hidden emotional trauma many of us could experience even if we don’t get the virus, just the global shock, the ‘unknown enemy’ that doesn’t discriminate, selectively choose or stay in one country. This is unparalleled shock we are facing. It’s sudden loss of not exactly control of lives, but choice – I can’t go out for a walk into town, I can’t meet a friend for coffee, I can’t go out to Dartmoor for a day on the moors, I have to stay at home. I’m exhausted yet I don’t feel like I’ve really done anything, I’m worried about feeling a little run down incase it some how developed in to something worse. Whilst Netflix and chill is good, some of the post apocalyptic tv shows seem a little too close to home now.

    Suddenly everything feels a bit pointless, not life but just stuff. I’m not a bit going out party person, I’d much rather have people over for dinner and drinks but I feel even more now that having a home, a family and a solid group of friends is important that status or stuff. But then I stop and think that many people don’t have this, many of the people I work to help won’t be able to do a weekly food shop, they will have to chose between heating the house or cooking for their family. Yet what can I do from behind my doors? There are so many people doing amazing work, the supermarket workers, the bin men, the NHS and other emergency staff. Yet what can I do? Young people are good at standing up for some big campaign or something internal to change but what about working to support others? What can we do to make a difference?

    I’m finding my faith a strong source of peace, I’m trying to not stress about things and listening to sermons about not worrying, trusting God and it seems that the Lords prayer keeps cropping up on numerous different occasions. I’ve realised I need to focus on the ‘…thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven….for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, now and forever. Amen’ We might be int he midst of a storm but we have to trust God will calm it all and keep us all safe.

    Sorry for this unbelievably long comment. I’m still trying to process my emotions towards it all. I am grateful my family both near and far seem ok and unaffected. Thanks be to God.

    • Ruth Perrin says:

      Hey Hannah, thanks so much for sharing your heart – I’m honoured. I agree with you about the grief thing and also Netflix. Personally I’ll be watching Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals online this weekend not post-apocalyptic drama! You are right, it will be interesting to see what stays, what we leave behind, how things are shaped after all this. I wish you grace and peace in all the crazy and recommend Charlie Macksey as a source of holy wisdom right now. ” We are out of our depth” said the boy. “Just breathe” said the horse “and hold on”. XX

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