15 December 2017

“Let the children come to me…”

“Let the children come to me…”

Matt 19:14

‘The Big House Ireland’…this may be a name that you are very familiar with, or one that you are hearing for the first time as you read this.

For those of you who haven’t met with us before, let me introduce you to a little of our heart and work.

Our vision & work

‘The Big House Ireland’ is an interdenominational Christian charity that exists to help young people know God’s love and encounter Jesus, especially when they face difficult life situations. We believe that young people are precious and deeply loved by God – no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they face in life.

We also know that many young people face difficult situations in life, and that it can be hard for us as individuals, for our churches and our youth organisations to know how to help.

Would you know what to do if you realised that a young person you know was struggling with an eating disorder? Or had started to self-harm? Would you, or your church, know how to help when a young person is diagnosed with a long-term illness or disability?

These are just a few of the many things that young people can face in their lives. Difficulty is more common in young people than we sometimes realise – both the young people who are in our churches, and those who are outside of it.

Unless we, as God’s people, can help young people discover the hope and presence of Jesus in the midst of these, and other difficult situations, young people are unlikely to know that God sees, or cares, or can make a difference in their experience of pain, and to the rest of their lives.

The Big House wants young people to know that God does see and care, and can make a difference in their lives.

We want to help local churches and youth organisations in their current youth work by providing training days for leaders, a counselling service for young people, and camps for young people, which are specifically related to the difficulties that young people are facing and which speak of God’s words and heart into the young people’s lives. We also visit local churches and youth groups when invited.

Our training days

Over the last two years, we have run a number of training days for youth and church leaders. These days help leaders to understand more about the difficulties that young people can face, and equip them to pastorally help them. We have covered topics such as: Eating Disorders, Self-harm, Depression and Disability.

Our Counselling Service

This year we are launching a Christian counselling service for young people, ‘The Listening Space.’ As far as we know it will be the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Our Camps

Our camps are packed with fun activities, and are specially designed to support young people in their different life situations.

In August, we ran ‘Shine’, our third camp for teenagers with learning difficulties. While in March of 2012 we will run our third camp for girls called ‘Beautiful’. This camp encourages girls to see themselves as God does. We also have a team of people committed to developing a camp for young people who have or have had cancer and their siblings.

Do you know any young people who would like to come on our camps? If so, please visit our website or contact our office for further details!

Visiting you!

If you think that we can help you in your youth work – by taking a youth fellowship group, providing a speaker for a weekend, or by offering training for your youth leaders, then just ask! We will be glad to help. We are also available to visit your church, or groups within it to share more of our vision and work.

Why are we called ‘The Big House’?

We believe that a Big House would be our ideal base to work from – somewhere beautiful that is away from the young people’s everyday lives, where we can run short-term residential programmes all year round.

Somewhere that has a lot of fun activities on site, and somewhere that young people will know that they are not just accepted, but really welcome – no matter who they are, where they come from, or what their lives are like.

Somewhere in which God is clearly revealed as the young people’s comfort, strength, hope and closest friend: a place where Jesus is clearly seen and spoken of and where lives are changed by Him.

In the meantime, while we wait for God to provide such a place, we are able to run our camps, training days and counselling service from a variety of venues in Northern Ireland.

Would you like to join us in our work?

If you share our heart for young people, and our desire that they would know the extent of God’s love for them, especially when life is tough, then please get in touch with us!

  •  We have many opportunities for you to join us in our work.
  •  We need people who will commit to pray for us, our work, and the young people we spend time with. Would you or your church or prayer group commit to praying for ‘The Big House’?
  •  We need volunteers in many areas. Can you gift your time or expertise to us? Can you help us practically on our camps or training days?
  •  We also need finance to run our programmes and to offer our counselling service. Can you support us monthly? Or could you organise a fundraising event for our work?

There are many parts to play in the work of ‘The Big House’ – we’d love you to find out what part you have to play in it!

Getting in touch…

If you would like to find out more about our training days, camps, counselling service, or how you and your church can support our work, then please contact our administrator, Nadia Jewhurst in our Belfast office (028 90671495). Alternatively, you can email us: info@thebighouse.org.uk . We will be delighted to see how we can work together in caring for young people.

Dr Angela Minion

Project Director, The Big House Ireland