Dan Fall - Centenary Project Worker
Your Love makes me sing
[by Dan Fall, November 2016]
Almost 8 months ago, we started opening our doors weekly to the young people of our community, and God is continuing to surprise me!
The youth group was meeting once a month, and we had an outreach team going to a local skate park every week. The plan was to open up the church to act as a base for the outreach team to direct people back too, for a longer chat, another biscuit, but mostly as somewhere warm and dry. We thought a few of our regulars might come along, hang around for a while, etc. but I don’t think any of us expected that a few months down the line they would be turning up, sometimes an hour early, just so they could come into the building!
We aren’t some super group - we don’t have hundreds of kids every week (it’s normally around 20ish) and to the outside observer I’m sure our Friday Night Youth is the very definition of chaos (which isn’t far wrong) but what we are doing, rain or shine, is showing up, opening up and being obedient to God.
A few months into opening weekly the team met to pray and seek God. The overwhelming word which came from that was ‘Worship’. He wanted us to demonstrate worship to the young people. Having over 12 years of experience working with young people I thought I knew exactly how singing worship songs with a casual group of non-churched kids would go, but we were obedient.
How faithful is my God, how trustworthy is his word, how wrong was I!
They loved it! I’m not saying they engaged with it amazingly, or we had instant conversions or the like, but they loved singing, and more than that, they loved singing worship! I’d often leave the equipment out, only to come back 20 minutes later to find a group of them gathered around a mic trying to remember how the song had gone. Then as soon as they saw me, badger me to put the words back on the screen so they could scream at the top of their lungs, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Your love makes me sing”.
It led on to other things too. After a few weeks some of them wanted to play my guitar, we were then donated two junior sized acoustics guitars (God knows our every need) which they could not only play, but we could allow them to take home to practice on. A lot of our group come from an area with quite a poor reputation, but the message we give by trusting them, speaks to them more than a sermon ever could.
We’re now in the run up to Christmas (sorry) and we are about to start rehearsals because for the first time ever, some of the group will be taking part in our Carol service.
The song has a line; “Your love is surprising, I can feel it rising, all the joy that’s growing deep inside of me”. A lot of the time our group is hard work; they don’t listen, they misbehave, they’re abusive to one another, they make a mess, but Jesus didn’t come to heal the healthy… Deep down God is at work in their hearts, and every now and then we see it; when they apologise for swearing, when they tell their friend to listen, when they serve each other. So we continue to be obedient, we continue to show His love and we continue to trust Him to complete the good work which He has started.
Dan is part of the Centenary Project and works full time at St Francis, Bramley, as the Youth & Worship Leader.