13 Years Of Youth Work
After being part of the youth team fro 13 years and on staff since 2008, the wonderful Bex Roberts is leaving Forge Youth. We asked her to share some thoughts:
Ok... so here I am actually saying goodbye to Forge, I guess I never thought that this would happen. I have served on the team for 12 years and have loved the journey. It has been full of life and love, pain, sorrow, joy and so so much more! I don’t know how you sum up 12 years of pouring your life into something, but I will try.
I think I have worked in every area of Forge (apart from Forge Sports – not my natural gifting) – beginning as a student leading Adrenalin and a band posse that were absolutely full of enthusiasm if lacking a little in rhythm. I also led the most amazing girl’s group – possibly the loudest group of girls I have ever met - who have all grown into wonderful and beautiful women I am so proud of – still running with Jesus and changing and influencing other people’s lives. I then came on staff here at Philadelphia and worked in lots of schools and on lots of the inner city estates. I have worked on Langsett for 6 years, and have met some wonderful young people who are full of life and love who I will be very sad to stop working with.
I have always had a heart for people at the edge and have most definitely met a lot of those during my time here. This has been a crazy adventure with so so much laughter and joy, seeing young people changed and transformed by the love of God and seeing families set free. There have also been many tears - death, frustration, pain and young people turning back to their old life. But in all these things I have seen that the love of God changes things. People are never the same once they have encountered his love.
There have been moments when I have slightly feared for my life and that of my team – kids with metal bars coming into youth clubs, fights between gangs, treacherous snowball fights, bucking broncos at Soul Survivor and even lethal Frisbee throwing. But mostly I have fought for the lives of the young people that I have met. Many of them have had really sad and difficult things in their lives which the world says there is no way out of.
But I know the God of miracles and I have seen many young people saying no to drugs, finish college, go to uni, getting a job for the first time in 3 generations, leaving gangs, praying for healing for each other on the street, overcome their fears, say yes to Jesus, read their Bibles more than I do, wait until they are older to have babies, give their money away and many, many more magnificent things.
In all of these things, I have learnt that it is worth it, because stopping to pick the drunk mother out of the gutter can lead to 5 others giving their life to Jesus, because giving bread and milk to your kids can lead to their mum inviting you to share the Bible with them, because having 12 kids round to your house and picking playdough out of the carpet can lead to 5 of their friends doing an Alpha course, because love doesn’t just look like shiny youth clubs and polished pool tables, love looks like sitting down in the dirt and stopping for the one in front of you.
None of this would have been possible without working under such great leaders as John, Rich, Dan and Sam and without working with some of the best youth workers in the country – they have encouraged me not to settle for less than God can do, to take new ground and to get much better at playing FIFA and throwing snowballs. So, basically – join the Forge team, run with the most sold out lovers of Jesus and people that I have met – they will show you what it looks like to love without measure, to get back up when you have been pushed away and they know how to laugh, joke and make 30 hot chocolates at the same time as not burning the toast.