Change. Often, it is as challenging as it is exciting. Milton Ulladulla Baptist Church (MUBC) recently went through a season of change; saying goodbye to leaders, and welcoming in new ones. Amidst the team’s prayerful anticipation of what this new chapter might hold for MUBC Youth, there was the question – “who is going to steer the ship?” Belinda Harding (known as ‘Bee’), with what she can only describe as the Spirit speaking to and through her, responded, “I’ll do it.” “The minute I said ‘yes’, God poured a whole new level of love into my heart for these kids,” Bee shares. Yep, change is exciting, but it is also challenging. And encouraging. The past 12 months have not been without its difficulties; taking twists and turns that no-one could have prepared for. But God is sovereign, and has continued to work powerfully in and through the lives of many young people in the MUBC community. The MUBC Youth Ministry leadership holds fast to the promise that God’s grace is sufficient, and His power works best in our weakness.
“It is a steep learning curve,” says Bee. “But a total privilege to love and serve God and His people in this. I’m totally dependent on Him…and I’m so thankful for the support and prayer from brothers and sisters in Christ, super thankful for the leaders’ creativity and heart for young people to hear and receive the Good News of Jesus, and thankful for their grace, love and forgiveness in tricky times.”
And God has clearly been at work amongst MUBC’s young people during this season. One young male, named Lachlan (or ‘Lachie’), who had been coming along to Youth Group with a friend, continued to ask lots of questions. “We ran ‘Youth Alpha’ and he came to some of those sessions, as well as the church’s ‘Alpha’ (as he had just turned 18 and so was in that ‘in-between’ age). Alpha was a good opportunity to have the gospel presented succinctly and simply, share a meal in community, and chat about life and faith,” Bee explains. “God had, and has, put him on my heart to pray for regularly. And, praise God, he gave his life to Jesus, and is now part of a young adults bible study group!”
This young adults group came about after Bee was convicted by God to prioritise relationships, knowing that new Christians especially need people around to encourage them. “I feel for him [Lachie] because he gave his life to Christ, and then we went into lockdown!” Bee shares. “During this season God has really reminded me that we are made in, through, and for relationship – life is a gift to be shared. I think young people especially need this.” Now, the group does dinner together and, as Bee says, “It’s good to share a meal. Jesus did it all the time!” There is a core group that goes along consistently, and is praying for others who are more on the fringe.
Steve Dixon, Associate Director of Youth & Young Adults (as part of Gen 1K Leadership), says: “We love hearing stories of people in local churches taking hold of opportunities to invest in the lives of young people – to create spaces for them to explore faith and to provide tangible experiences of God’s love.”
And this is just one of a couple of stories that have been a good lesson for Bee that, regardless of circumstance, the Spirit is still working in kid’s lives. “It can be easy to get a bit disheartened,” she explains. “But that’s why it’s good to remember the ways that God is always at work, even when we can’t necessarily see it, and that He is sovereign.”
PRAY // Praise God that Lachie’s faith has been growing, despite months of Covid-19 restrictions. Thank God for the ways that Bee, and the other youth leaders at MUBC, have been caring and praying for him (as well as the rest of their young). Pray that they would continue to trust God as we remain in an unnerving period of the ‘unknown’.