Taking place on Monday evenings from 7.15-8.30pm, ‘Youth Alpha’ sessions involve discussions over videos that are played each week.
The events are led by Curate Joshua Blunt, Centenary Project worker Emma Johnson and two members of the St John’s congregation who are passionate about young people and their relationship with Jesus. The two members in question are being raised up as leaders.
After watching the videos talks take place between the team and the teenage contingent taking part.
Breaks occur halfway through the evening with pizza, dessert food and fizzy drinks, where the conversations continue. The course started just after half term in October 2022, after a couple of young people showed an interest in learning more about Jesus. The Youth Alpha group includes the daughter of a congregation member who became a Christian last year.
In terms of setting up the group, Joshua explains that they thought about the course prayerfully before deciding to give it a go:
“We had two people attending plus the best friend of one of the attendees, along with two more who come along to church occasionally. They all showed lots of hunger to learn more and asked lots of fantastic questions. We found very early on that there’s a real level of openness from the young people. As a leadership team we didn’t really have to work very hard to open things up, which was lovely. They shared their thoughts about who God is and what it means to be a Christian and to follow Jesus.
“There were some real declarations of faith of who they think Jesus is. Sometimes we were taken aback; it was really just a testament to the goodness of God and how the Holy Spirit has been working in their lives.”
Joshua was a youth worker for another church before he took part in ordination training, and has a passion for teaching young people more about Jesus.
It’s hoped more awareness can be raised with the rest of the congregation about the group reading the Bible together, which in turn can encourage more young people to explore and celebrate faith.
Joshua says a particular focus on ministry and prayer was helpful for setting up the Youth Alpha group:
“We took a step of faith, and found prayer was really central to that. We prayed and asked Jesus to lead people here. We weren’t sure if one of the lads would come every week, but after giving it a go it turned out his best friend wanted to come along as well and they both love it.
“It’s about giving young people the opportunity to hear about Jesus, to ask questions and being open to what they might say. It’s been incredible to see the young people being changed by Jesus; in their speech, in their revelation of who God is and how they are speaking to their friends about the group too.”
Centenary Project worker Emma Johnson said:
“The Youth Alpha evenings have been great. It was an absolute privilege to be a part of these young people’s journeys. Initially, this was set up to allow the youth to explore faith, discuss things and dig a little deeper – they certainly did this!
“Watching them grow each week whilst drawing closer to God and seeing their eagerness to want to know more was lovely to watch and experience. The most rewarding witness was to see some of these young people step into a worshipping community and participate in a Sunday service in our local church.
“This is God at work; this is what being a Church family is all about.”
St John’s Goole are also starting a Sunday morning bible and prayer group for youth, which will take place during their 11:15am service (to be led by Joshua and a team from within the congregation).