Meet the Interns: Ken

KenWTell us about yourself… I’m from Leeds, I grew up in a Christian family and was brought up going to church; I was really blessed by this. I’ve been on a journey with God, and there have been many ups and downs. After graduating from Bradford University, I went out to the southern-most island in Japan, as part of a voluntary scheme to work in a hospital. In my second year in Japan, I moved to Tokyo and got heavily involved in an ever-growing church in Tokyo, and it was awesome to see God changing lives in Japan. Now, back here at St George’s, I feel that God is really working in me, building me up to step up in leadership. I’m in a new season and this year will hopefully be a great year of growth. How do you know Jesus? My family and I attended another church in Leeds when I was younger but I was always in the minority as there wasn’t really much of a youth group, as a result, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to be encouraged by other young people, especially through a really tough time of bullying at high school.  I used to ask God “why are you letting this happen?” However, when I was 16, I went on a Christian Venture camp in Cornwall; I heard about what God had done for me, that he was my loving Father, that he loved me, and that he was proud of me. On the last night at camp, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. When I returned, I happened to go to St George’s for a one-off event; I looked at the service sheet which told me about Roots, which I thought I’d try out.  I did explore a few other churches too, but I found Roots at St George’s, to be my home.  The youth pastor at the time, Beth Tash, played a big part in my growth as a young Christian. With her as my cell leader, and with a few other young people my age, we formed a close Christian network, which has given me the courage to be who God made me to be.

What do you love about Leeds? I like that it’s a big city, but also that it’s small enough to know others well.  I love the vision of unity across this city with other churches and charities, and I love being involved in that.

Why have you chosen to do the Internship? The internship is all about equipping leaders for the future, whether that’s in ministry or other in other sectors. I’m here because I want to go to the next level, particularly in leadership, taking this rare opportunity to try out new things in a safe environment, with mentors who will allow you to take this step. I’m placed at St Luke’s Beeston, and my role involves helping with The Alpha Course, Kids Club, and Sunday Schools. I preached for the first time this term, which is something that I had prayed for the opportunity to do; it’s so great to have so many great leaders around me who are willing to give me these opportunities.

"It made me wonder whether I need to be more expectant of God to work in my day-to-day life."

Where have you seen God at work? One guy came to Alpha, he wasn’t a Christian at the time, and with a young daughter to support, he was really struggling financially.  We prayed for him, and a few weeks later he received a tax rebate which was the exact amount to cover the bills he needed to pay.  He was unemployed at that time too, but was offered an interview for a job the following week, and got the job the following week!  It was a privilege to see the joy of God in him, to witness that prayer is powerful, and it was also humbling to see that God shows up when we ask! It made me wonder whether I need to be more expectant of God to work in my day-to-day life.

I have also helped out with the ‘Introduction to Jesus Christ and The Bible’ course for International students.  This has been challenging, but I feel God has equipped me for the work.  This term we had a weekend away with this group in Chesterfield.  A guy who was baptised earlier this year, who is still in the early stages of faith, came on this weekend with his wife. He had been asking lots of questions for a while, but his wife seemed very guarded against wanting to know more about Christianity. Yet over the course of the weekend I saw her barriers come down; she was so much more open towards the end of the weekend, which was great to see.

"...To love more radically and become a godly leader that’s worth following."

What can St G’s pray? Pray that we would be able to reach out to the diverse community in Holbeck and Beeston with the good news, through Alpha and other community groups, and pray for the skills and personnel for us to do this well.

As an intern group we’ve been reading a book by Bill Hybels called ‘Axiom: powerful leadership proverbs’ and his use of short, easy-to-remember phrases encouraged me to make up a vision for this year: ‘To love more radically and become a godly leader that’s worth following’. I want to live this out and actively seek opportunities to love people in Leeds and internationally, so please pray for boldness, wisdom and equipping.

Find out more about the St George's Internship here.