Autumn is definitely well on its way. I have to admit that it is not my most favourite time of year; I don’t relish the cold, wet weather and the dark evenings that are ahead of us for some months although I think may be just about my only objection. Autumn itself with its vibrant colours is a truly beautiful time and walking through crisp leaves in the park or searching out the newly fallen conkers and acorns are some of the simple, joyful pleasures in life. I know autumn is really a time of death but, if nature is going to go through that stage then it does it in a truly spectacular way.
The first time I ever went on a retreat we were sent to wander round a garden and seek God there. It was autumn and the thing that really struck me hard was how life always comes out of death. The leaves fall but the seeds are planted and start growing. Jesus dies but brings new life out of the dark of the Crucifixion.
As the Group Youth Worker, I am always trying to sense where life in God is to be found for the youth groups we run. Where is the Spirit leading? We create and run our groups and then watch as children grow into young people and out the other end of the groups into wider adult life. We see what works, what doesn’t and we try to respond to where our youngsters are at. Some come, some don’t, others want to come from elsewhere; for some, it is their only experience of church, for others they are so linked into church that a youth group is not important. Each to their own. Success is not measured by numbers because they are misleading. Low numbers COULD mean we were doing something wrong but it could be the necessary dying off, the pruning which enables new life to be born. So in the same way that we watch the seasons change, we watch expectantly, in faith, for a similar leading from God in our Youth Work.