What in Heaven’s Name is Going on in Our Local Schools!

The Chanctonbury Youth team and I have the privilege of witnessing first hand the way in which our young people have grown in kindness, authenticity and boldness this last year. The love they have for one another is breathtaking, and it is incredibly exciting to glimpse the impact they have begun to have on the people they are surrounded with everyday, especially in their schools.

One of the remarkable things that has happened amongst these young people is a genuine fervour to share what God is doing and has done in their lives. This has taken various forms, but most commonly they set up a ‘Christian Union’ or ‘Church Without Walls’. However, what is most interesting is that it is outside of the boundaries of clubs and classes that amazing things have happened. Chanctonbury Youth were described by one of their new friends as ‘a group like no-other in the school’. ‘They actually love one another, it’s amazing, like they actually say nice things about each other when they aren’t even there’, said a girl from Steyning Grammar during an ‘Alpha’ session.

They are filled with such joy, life and love that they can’t help but love each other. If you’ve ever found yourself for a minute with these young people, you will have found their laughter infectious. Without doubt, you would have walked away with a smile on your face… Whatever they have, it is contagious – and it’s brilliant!

In John 13:35 Jesus says, ‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’. The fruit of their unified, yet personal pursuit of Father God is not ‘intellectual arguments’ in school corridors, nor philosophical ‘scuffs’ with their peers, but a visible, tangible love that leave people smiling.

To see young people connecting on a real level with real authenticity, in a culture when everything is online and often fake, is extraordinary. What this company of young people have grasped, 20 years earlier than most, is people don’t want compelling arguments, nor flashy lights and stylish clothes, nor a five year life plan and everything ‘sorted’, nor this and that course – as good as these things are – people want love! Genuine love! In the words of John Mayer, ‘Not this Hollywood, fireworks, candlelit, hot pink love, I want “I got your back” love!’. This type of love only comes from God, this type of joy only comes from Him, this type of life can only be lived through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said it best himself, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’.