In April our 11-18s Network, Roots, were sharing life and loving Leeds by reaching out to bless Cottingley in a week of IMPACT. Lottie Jones and our Roots team alongside Ali Gilfillan, who currently works and serves as part of the Cottingley Youth Project, led our young people to serve the community by running a week of activities for other young people and families. They put on a Community Cafe, dance workshops, kids clubs and a family fun day. However, the Roots Network were also getting their hands dirty by litter picking, gardening and generally showing God’s love in practical ways to the community.
‘Those who hope in the lord will renew their strength, they will run not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’
We asked Roots Network what was their highlight of Cottingley Impact week? “Hanging out as a group.” “Spending time together in the evening.” “Spending time with everyone.” “Old people’s smiles and compliments...and the food.” “Bouncy castle!” “The fundraiser.” “People’s interest in our work.”
How did the week make an Impact on the Network?
Every time we go away together, community gets better. Friendships are strengthened by spending quality time together.
"We have such an amazing bunch of young people, and we should continue to invest in them."
We had some young people stepping up and understanding what Impact week was really about, then leading others in that. All the young people worked and they had bounds and bounds of energy which showed the love of Jesus in practical ways. We have such an amazing bunch of young people, and we should continue to invest in them.
How did the week Impact you? “Making new friends and creating stronger friends.” “Making new friends.” “Through working for the community.” “It showed me how God works through us.” “Showed that we could help people and still have fun.” “I saw that God shows his love in any way and in any situation.” “I think I could feel God working in me.” “I realised how much litter is around but how much a couple of hours of work can do.”
Where did you see God working?
The thing that God taught me personally through Impact week was his faithfulness because I realised that we can often try to do things in our own strength. Unless we rely on God, things will never be as good as they could possibly be. God was speaking to me before Impact week about when we get tired, remembering to continue to love one another and rely on Him. So everyday we prayed as a team, but remembered to ask God to show how we could love each other as a team, how we could model that to the young people and to Cottingley, and also what fruit of the spirit did we need to sustain us.
"Unless we rely on God, things will never be as good as they could possibly be."
I was reminded of that verse that ‘those who hope in the lord will renew their strength, they will run not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ So we need to wait on the lord to renew our strength and sustain us, and the difference that it made was just incredible.
After the weekend ‘at home’ at the end of January, most of us as leaders felt so tired and drained, whereas at the end of Cottingley Impact week, while we were tired, actually God sustained us right through the week; he helped us to continue to love and encourage the young people and we even had energy at that end! That was just an incredible testament to Gods faithfulness and the fact that we need to always be relying on Him above our own ability and our own strength.
Where did you see God making an Impact? “Kids club.” “The fun day!” “Litter picking, because everyone was really grateful.” “With the smiles and sharing of the young children in the Community Cafe.” “When we were doing litter picking because the wind was awful but we had loads of fun.”
Find out more about Roots at St George's here.