Twenty–one young people from across the diocese have just celebrated their graduation from the SERVE Young Leaders’ Training Course.
Lots of parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters came along in support and enjoyed a meal and graduation ceremony in Holywood Parish Centre on 27 November.
In an evening bursting with potential, the SERVE participants, all aged between 15 and 18, took the lead in worship, reading, praying and sharing.
Archbshop’s Commissary, Archdeacon Roderic West, presented the graduation certificates and gave a short message. He encouraged the young people to seek out the things and people that would motivate them to read the Bible and pray and grow, and to allow their relationship with God to touch every aspect of their lives.
The Class of ‘19 is the third group to complete the course which began in September and ran on Wednesday evenings in Church House.
They came from diverse parishes – Shankill Lurgan, Garvaghy, Seapatrick, Portaferry, Moira, Ballybeen, Bangor Parish, Lower Kilwarlin, Newtownards and Carryduff – and every one of the graduates would recommend SERVE to other young people in the diocese.
“I came in not really expecting the typical leader to be the most outgoing in the group, but I’ve realised through this that you don’t have to be like that to lead,” said one.
“The week when we gave the speeches really impacted me when we had to be open and sharing and hear what everybody else had to say. It really helped us trust each other,” said another.
Course leader, Tim Burns praised the group and reminded them what SERVE was about: “It’s not just getting to this service and doing a thing in front of your parents, it’s an encouragement to keep going in your faith and keep growing and moving on.”
SERVE came from a vision to develop the young people who were coming through the Kilbroney Adventure Camps and in general to develop young leaders across the diocese. Written by Tim Burns, Down and Dromore’s Youth Development Officer, it’s an eight–session discipleship course with four core elements: dinner together; a spiritual discipline ‘taster’; a chapter review of ‘Storylines’ by Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft and finally, teaching and discussion guided by the SERVE material. The participants also get some practical experience when they go along to the Kilbroney Blast Weekend as leaders.