Gorleston gets new Christian youth worker
Former Breckland Youth for Christ worker Matt Ashpole has been appointed as the new Youth Worker for the Identity Youth Project in Gorleston.
Matt grew up in the seaside town and attended St.Andrew’s Church, where he became a Christian as a teenager and volunteered for various roles in youth and children’s work. ‘From a young age I felt a calling to ministry, but of which area of ministry I was unsure’.
At the age of nineteen he was put forward for ordained ministry. He was working at Cliff Park High School (Now Cliff Park Ormiston Academy) as a PE Technician, tennis coach and personal trainer when a vacancy opened up within North Breckland Youth For Christ.
He enjoyed the work.’ I felt like I was exactly where God wanted me to be. It was such a privilege to be able to play a part in the young people's lives and to be able, by the grace of God, to help to influence and impact their lives positively through displaying God's love to them. This is something I am very much looking forward to being able to do with the young people in and around Gorleston.’
By the time the Breckland contract ended Matt had married Hannah who was completing her studies at Brunel University in Uxbridge. Matt joined her there working at a West London school for a time and managing a church youth club which attracted a membership of over 80.
Once Hannah finished her Masters degree they moved to Norwich. They attended Soul Church and became involved in the Friday night Soul Youth. 23-year-old Matt had applied to join the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and been shortlisted when the job with Identity back at Gorleston came up.
‘I had got through a couple of the hoops needed to get further into the recruitment process with the fire service and was excited by this prospect’ said Matt. ‘But in the back of my mind I knew God was calling me to something different. The more I listened to God the more obvious it was that the Identity Youth Project was where He was calling me. I withdrew my Fire Service application, despite spending hours applying and attending the essential training nights and fitness sessions. I couldn't feel more at peace with the decision despite the fire service being the more logical and safer option. God's way doesn’t always seem logical, but it is certainly the right way and better way.’
Identity is supported by five Gorleston churches including Magdalen Way Methodist which provides an office for the project.
Matt continued: ‘I am so excited to see how God uses Identity to influence and impact the young people of Gorleston and how we can work together to introduce young people to faith. I am spending the coming weeks getting a feel for what is going on and meeting with many people to see how we can serve the young people of our community to the best of our ability and brining glory to God through this.’
The picture, top, of Matt Ashpole being introduced at the Great Yarmouth Celebrate! event at the King’s Centre by Identity chairman Methodist minister Mark Attwood is courtesy of Anna Heydon.
The picture of Matt is courtesy of Brian Philpot.
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