1. Why do you think work with young people is important?
I think forming close relationships with people is important at any age. If we spend too much on the wide shot, we risk believing that all of humanity is all about division and border walls, so it’s important to me to tighten the focus onto local friendship and hospitality. I’m saved by messing around with people who make me laugh, and by honest conversations with people I trust, and I’m just lucky to be in a job that pays me to do that. It happens that when I was 18, I got into youth work, and so that’s the world I operate in. If I had started out in a nursing home, maybe today I’d be doing trying to live the same kind of life but with pensioners. Maybe I still will!
2. What are 2 challenges you face working with young people?
Firstly – there’s a big part of me that wants to be liked by everyone. But I also want to be sincere and authentic in my relationships. Those things are often in tension.
Secondly – E-mails. Why are we still giving up so much time to an outdated technology which achieves so little? I was joking with someone recently about setting a permanent auto-reply that says something like: “This isn’t supposed to be a desk job. Don’t expect a reply to this unless it’s urgent, in which case phone me.” I’m still thinking about it.
3. What is the last book you read?
I’m busy reading The Martian, by Andy Weir. It’s the book that the recent Matt Damon film was based on. But I’m speeding through it because what I really want to be reading is The Book of Dust, the new Philip Pullman book.
4. What is the last TV series you watched?
My girlfriend and I just finished the second season of Stranger Things. I’m also really enjoying the new Star Trek series!
5. When are you happiest?
We’re both animal people, so I think it’s probably when I’m with my girlfriend and there are animals around: walks in nature, playing with the cats, poking bugs… Also, I go to the cinema a lot. By myself. I like that too.
6. If you could bring one change to the young peoples lives that you work with what would it be?
Eugh, I feel a bit queasy about the answer I’m going to give to this. But genuinely, I’d want them to know that the God who created them likes them. I’d want all of their anxieties and doubts to fade into insignificance when contrasted to the knowledge that God is on their side. I’d like that for myself as well.