By Corin Mackay
Pursuit Youth is helping to build a community for kids from Forest Lake and surrounding suburbs with activities like trivia night, chocolate night, roller skating and nerf wars every Friday night during the school term at Forest Lake State School.
Pursuit is the youth ministry for the Forest Lake Baptist Church (FLBC), and among 11 other volunteers, is led by Associate Pastor Seb Henley, whose goal is to create a space for local kids to mature in a healthy way.
“We want to share the good news of God’s love to our teens, but also we want to be a safe place for youth to have fun and enjoy themselves… to make friends, to interact with adults who care about them and who they are, and who want to help them with life,” Seb said.
“For some teenagers, the only meaningful adult interactions they have is with their parents. It was a powerful thing when I was youth-aged, to have other adults who I could speak to about life, and I know my parents were appreciative to share the load.
“The other thing is many youth can all too easily disengage from life and get caught up in an online world – we want to provide a space where youth can engage in real life on a Friday night; talk, make friendships, and have a place that they can belong.”
Seb has worked with young people for the entirety of his career, moving from his previous profession as a school teacher to now being an Associate Pastor for the Baptist Church for six years.
“I appreciated going to youth when I was a teen – I appreciated having a safe place where I could talk to caring adults who were open and always offered a listening ear,” Seb said.
“ The impact my leaders had on my life made me want to do the same for other teenagers…I want to offer that to the youth of Forest Lake.
“There are a lot of things going on in the life of a young person; social challenges, developmental changes, identity issues, and a youth group can help a lot with that,” Seb said.
Pursuit Youth typically sees about 40 youth attend on a Friday night to play games and to talk about life and God among themselves and group leaders.
Seb and his team focus on different concepts each term, with last term’s theme looking at the big questions – where kids could ask about God, life, purpose and the Bible.
“We’ll break off into smaller groups where youth can talk about it more afterwards…We have time for games and fun and time to talk about important things,” Seb said.
“The main message is that, according to God and the Bible, every human matters – every human is loved and has a purpose and a meaning. We want to share that with our youth as we engage with them and as they go about their lives.
“Regardless of whether our youth believe God’s good news, we seek to care for and support our youth and desire to create a safe place where they can enjoy life and have fun.”
For more information about Pursuit Youth, visit them on Facebook or contact Seb Henley on 0434 050 222.