So I’ve done a bit of reflecting about the children who were present at Rock Solid last week, but what about the Team?
The Team who led the 650 kids consisted of 125 people, youngest aged 15, with an average age of 17. They did jobs ranging from gunge tank fillers, to small group leaders, to sound engineers, to teachers and worship leaders on the stage. There were long standing team members who have been with Rock Solid since New Wine took place in Newark, people who were New Wine and Team newbies, and everything in between.
Both my mid childhood and late teens were particularly tricky times of life for me. Early on in the week I found myself looking round the room and wondering what a difference an event like this would have made, either as a child delegate or as a young Team member. I will never know the answer to that question, but I can say what a privilege it was to have had the chance to make a small difference to the people I met last week.
Upon arrival, there were lots of nerves, my own included, if I’m honest! Some people didn’t know if they could do it and needed prayer and cheer leading to get them to step out into the unknown. The next day, some were unsure again, and some might have been nervous the next day too. But bit by bit, confidences began to grow as God worked in the Team as they served and helped to look after his children. Some who began the week with great difficulty had blossomed and flourished by the time it came to pack down on Saturday night.
Although we had ‘Team time’ before each session, with worship and teaching from the Team Pastors, I really think that people grew as much through their work with the children as they did in the time for reflection. For example, the most powerful moment of the week for me was when I felt filled by the spirit during a conversation with a brave Team member. I learned more about God’s love and grace through the course of that conversation than I would have done by sitting and listening in one of the main meetings.
I don’t think that God can speak to us any less when we are doing his work than when we are in a two hour long worship session!
I often had a good view of the whole room during worship and it was clear that the kids engaged as the leaders did. There were Team members who gave buckets of energy into worshipping, despite significant personal challenges, and therefore the kids worshipped with energy too! The week was tough going on many as little sleep was had, roles were demanding and the campsite was almost permanently soggy! But the triumphant feeling of finishing the week in one piece was worth the tiredness, the struggle and the occasional tear!
One particular area of the Team who I was so impressed by were the people from Our Place. These volunteers work to help the children in the venue who need a little bit more support than others. These people had buckets of patience and made helpful ways for children to engage with the activities, which meant they were as included as any other child in the venue. Their example was not only inspiring but useful as many Team members learned how to communicate with children in a more useful way. Their presence meant that we could welcome children who would otherwise have been a bit more tricky to handle. I think this is what church should be like, completely inclusive. It was fab!
One afternoon the whole Team was invited to the workers celebration in the main venue, which was brilliant! Each venue team came in chanting and singing, clearly having bonded as much as we had over the week! We were thanked for our work and worshipped together. I think we all felt really valued and appreciated! I don’t know how many people volunteered overall but the energy and dedication of all those people was amazing!
I’ve never volunteered at a festival before, but I’m certainly keen to do it again! I really enjoyed my interactions with children and team alike, and I loved watching people grow and flourish as the week went on. By the end of the week, I felt that we’d formed a real community which only an intense and God-filled time can do!