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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Leaders’ perspective

Wednesday 21st July 2021

Mike Colbeck, 5th Scarborough

On 11th March 2020, Liverpool FC played Athletico Madrid in the Champions League and I attended the match as I was fortunate enough to be invited by a client. The journey to the match was a strange one as my client, who works in IT for a large insurance company, was on the telephone for just about the whole journey talking about how they were going to make provision for thousands of people across the world to work from home. This was the moment it dawned on me that things were going to get very different, very quickly.

Fast forward 2 weeks and my Company, 5th Scarborough had suspended our meetings and we were making plans for how we were going to adapt to Covid-19 – our first Zoom session was on 16th April. For Church we had put together our first online service and at work I had gone from face-to-face meetings in the office to telephone and Zoom from home.

We are often told that God provides the tools we need to carry out his calling. In February 2020, after waiting patiently for 2 years, our diabolical internet connection was replaced with a fibre line into our house. Since then we have met on Zoom for BB over 30 times and I’ve been responsible for a year’s worth of online services.

From the perspective of BB, Church and work, I think that we have made 5-10 years of progress in just a year and things will never be the same again – mostly for the better. However, it is in my role as a BB Captain, above all other things I do, where I yearn for normality more than anything and what a blessing it was to return to face-to-face meetings in April. My wife Kirsty and I run the Company together and we are very fortunate to have a great staff team, and whilst I am actively involved, the most important part of my evening is always greeting the young people and asking them how their week has been; looking them in the eye and seeing if they really are OK or if there is a more going on than they are saying. This is not possible on Zoom and it is such a privilege to be back and being able to see the young people.


What I’ve learnt

If the past year or so has taught me anything, it is that communication is the key to everything. Each week our families have had some form of contact by email and text message. We have posted on our Facebook group and tried to support our member’s families. In the school holidays, we have provided activity packs and last year we delivered planted sunflower seeds to each of the young people for them to look after and show us on the Zoom sessions.

All of this resulted in 44 of our 47 young people returning on the first night back with huge smiles on their faces and ready to come to BB and catch up with everyone. We have adapted with one-way systems, sanitising breaks, BB branded face masks and social distancing but importantly the core relationships between the members, between the staff and young people remains the key.

If we always remember to ensure our young people and their families can see that they are important to us and know that we genuinely care about them, then we are definitely advancing Christ’s Kingdom.

On the first night back, I overheard the Seniors planning for the next few weeks and when asked what they would like to do for their activities one of them simply remarked, ‘I don’t mind, I just like being here’. This was an emotional moment for me, he felt safe, happy and comfortable and it just didn’t matter what they were doing as long as they were together at BB.

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