Tuesday of Bible Week was a night to celebrate Youth and Children’s ministry and to look ahead to a new generation of leaders in the diocese.
The evening began with a drinks reception for youth and children’s leaders past and present, hosted by Bishop Harold in Shankill halls. He thanked the 150 or so present for all the leadership they have given and continue to give to the younger generation.
Over at the church the bishop surprised Diocesan Development Officer, Andrew Brannigan, with a gift from the staff in recognition of his 20 years working for Down and Dromore.
Andrew began as the Youth Officer and has continued to impact the Youth and Children’s work as Diocesan Development Officer alongside Julie Currie and Tim Burns.
Bishop Harold Issued a challenge to young and old alike as he shared an inspirational message on raising a new generation of leaders.
He offered four guiding principles from the passages in Deuteronomy where Moses looks out over the promised land from Mount Nebo, realising that it will be Joshua and not he that leads the people in.
- The people of God need godly leadership and oversight – servant leadership like that of Jesus and Moses.
- The purposes of God continue in every generation. Our aspiration should be for all of our children and young people to follow Jesus.
- God’s sovereign promises are never fully fulfilled in one chapter, but we must each complete our chapter faithfully and with the realisation that we are but sinners.
- Providing and mentoring leaders of the future is vital.
Bishop Harold said that passing on the flame to the next generation has been a recurring theme for his life. He urged the young to be courageous like Joshua; “Go out and start fighting a few battles! Step out and take responsibility,“ he said.
And with Moses’ mentoring of Joshua as a model, he challenged the older generation to be mentors and guide a new generation into godly leadership
Bishop Harold concluded:
“Take your courage. Take it in both hands. Enter into what God is calling you to do. Yes, with the protection of older people around you. But go and do it. Give your lives to it, because there is nothing that is more important. Not just for you but for the Church, for the Kingdom, for God’s world in the next generation.”
Revd Sam Johnston reprised a song that had been sung at ‘2000 for 2000’ in the Waterfront Hall in 1999, I want to serve the purpose of God In my generation.
Bishop Harold led a time of response to finish, He asked the congregation to examine their hearts and offer themselves afresh in the service of God proclaiming together, “For me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”