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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Pushing Forward to Advance the Kingdom!

Tuesday 17th December 2019

“I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”

These are the words of Greta Thunberg – Swedish teenage environmental activist, known globally for her inspirational and passionate approach to climate change. What stands out for me and has really struck me is her clarity of vision. She is dedicated to the cause of climate change, but crucially she simply can see the absolute need, urgency and action required on the matter. She isn’t fearful of challenging people, whether ordinary members of the general public or world leaders, about this important topic. It is refreshing and encouraging to see a young person use their voice for good.

“I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” The more I thought about this quote, the more I became convinced that sometimes we need to apply this thinking to our work within The Boys’ Brigade. When we can see and understand that we need to adapt, change and develop; we need to act. The easy option can be to keep doing things the way we have always done. Grace Hopper, American Computer Scientist and US Naval Rear Admiral is quoted as having said, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is – we’ve always done it this way”. How true this is! How often, I wonder, do we keep things the same in our Boys’ Brigade Companies, purely because we have never considered that there could be another way?

The Boys’ Brigade is an organisation that stands first and foremost for developing young people in their faith. One of my favourite verses from the Bible is John 10:10 in which Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. Today young people talk about living life to the full, believing that the way to achieve this is from experiences, money and many other things. We have a massive opportunity to tell them about how Jesus can transform their lives,
so they can truly live life to the full. The challenge for us is ensuring that we fulfil our Object of ‘Advancing Christ’s Kingdom’ and remain relevant. Is this possible if we have an ‘always done it this way’ attitude? We always need to keep pushing ahead and thinking, how can we advance Christ’s Kingdom in today’s world? We need to offer an empowering and relevant programme that is above all Christ centred.

How do we go about this? It can seem overwhelming, but we must try. As Greta says, making changes requires ‘cathedral thinking’: ‘We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.’

So let’s begin! Let’s look again at this amazing opportunity that we have to share Jesus with young people, and ask ourselves, are we making the most of it? Can I encourage you to use your voice, your passion and in everything you do in The Boys’ Brigade, make it all about Jesus?

David Penney

Training & Programme Officer, Boys’ Brigade Northern Ireland

David is the Training & Programme Officer for The Boys’ Brigade Northern Ireland District. Alongside this he serves as a volunteer in his local Church through various youth, children’s, and community activities. In past years he has served as a full time Youth Worker for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. David is married to Catherine and they have two girls Madeleine and Willow. Madeleine has just started GB and absolutely loves it. Willow is eagerly awaiting her turn to join GB; for now she is happily enjoying the Church crèche and toddlers’ group.

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