Serving Gen Y & Z
Hello! I’m Mark Hirst. Having come to faith at the age of 19 through the ministry of a Baptist church, I felt called to ministry during my university years and now (aged 33) lead Willesborough Baptist Church in Ashford, Kent, along with my wife Izzy and our four children. I love the local church passionately because Jesus does! Like many others, my heart is to see renewal in the local church because when the church lives up to her calling, the world is changed. Part of this renewal involves generations learning to prefer one another; one generation looking to raise up the next. The cultural distance between generations has never been as vast as it is today which brings with it the risk of misunderstanding, fragmentation, and disengagement which has caused great pain in churches; but the family Jesus has in mind is a place of healing involving different generations running together and young adults released in their calling, able to influence the present as well as the future of our movement as Baptists Together.
Whilst people are sometimes disheartened by the number of young adults (Gen Y and Z) engaged in church life (which we all want to see increase!), I am encouraged by the depth of community, the passion, the creativity, and the authenticity of the disciples that are present in these generations and inspired by the many great servant-leaders scattered across our movement. There is a spiritual interest and hunger present in young adults throughout our nation as a whole, particularly reflected in current statistics which suggest that one in three 18 to 34 year olds have viewed a church service online in recent weeks (date of writing 05/05/2020). These are generations that will break new ground for the gospel and bring positive change in our movement; indeed they already are… but there is far more to come!
Our hopes as a team are to see community built among young adults across our family of churches; to create space for leaders to invest in and speak into the lives of young adults across our movement equipping them for life and mission in a rapidly changing context (primarily through events planned for next year and beyond); and to support the great work that is being done across our family of churches to ensure that Baptists Together is a challenging and inspiring movement that fully engages young adults, and is blessed and transformed by the gifts and leadership they have to offer. If you want to be part of this journey or if this has sparked any questions/thoughts, please get in touch!