Elaine Watkinson is on the Mission Team at Gainsborough Methodist Circuit and, with her caravan, is pioneering the Quest-ion? youth project.
I was Circuit youth coordinator in Grimsby and Cleethorpes and was involved in the ministry of the Side Door fresh expression of church in Grimsby for 12 years. However, I left the Grimsby Circuit because I was sure God wanted me to extend the mission, which wasn't possible within Grimsby at that time in the way he was calling me to do it.
What I wanted to do was to go out and meet the young people wherever they happened to be. That meant going to places like car parks, playing fields, bus stops – all the areas where they just 'hang around' and wait to see what happens.
I and a colleague then moved to the Gainsborough Circuit. We got a caravan – we called it Gabriel – and we'd hitch it up and move it on all over the place for what became The Quest-ion? youth project. Since then we've replaced 'Gabriel' with 'Abraham' – a more modern caravan – but the work to reach those beyond the reach of inherited church remains the same. We've started to build up quite a regular community but I have no idea how that will develop, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
The project is not officially recognised as 'church' by all the Circuit, although recognised by individuals who are mission orientated, so we are looking to make it clear that what we are doing is not 'new' or radical or strange; it's exactly what John Wesley did!
I still volunteer at Side Door and the work has been – and continues to be – a joy. When things get tough we need to remember that people's lives have been changed forever and it's important to celebrate that.