'Impact is for people who want to become dangerous Christians.' That's the tag line given to a year of training that CCK offers young people. And how true it is! The Impacters (as they are affectionately called) give of themselves heart and soul to serving the church. They are the team that works behind the scenes for the numerous events and meetings that CCK holds. Along with a hectic work schedule, they also have an intense theological training conducted by Andrew Wilson. Yohaan Philip recently interviewed three members of the team, Andy Hails, Chris Sivers and Michelle Blanckensee, and writes;
I've had the privilege of working in the same building as these guys and I can honestly write that they have made my life a lot more enjoyable! We've shared many laughs. They inspire me to serve. It's an honour to have conducted this interview.
YP: Tell me a bit about yourselves pre-Impact.
AH: I was part of the travelling circus before coming to Brighton. Risking life and death for my audience every night was empty and not very fulfilling. Not really, I came to Brighton University about 3 years ago as a backslidden Christian. God grabbed me back and has been radically changing me ever since! I wanted to serve the Church full time so Impact was the natural choice.
MB: I had just finished a Primary Education degree which I thoroughly enjoyed, although it was intense! However, on the course I realised that, as much as I loved working with children, my passion was not for their education as much as for their discovering Jesus and so I left the degree wondering if I truly did want to be a Primary Teacher. I realised that I did not want to be a teacher forever and that other things were priorities in my life.
YP: What's been the most exciting thing about Impact?
MB: For me, the most exciting thing about this Impact year is that God said at the start of the year that Tom(my husband) and I would know His provision this year, and the year would unveil like someone climbing a mountain - the further up you go, the wider the horizon becomes. These prophecies have been central to what has happened this year, and they've given us both huge faith and excitement as God changed our hearts and guided our feet.
CS: The highlight of this year is the opportunity to work with different people in a variety of different contexts. I've produced architectural drawings for the supported housing unit, followed john Hosier when he went preaching and worked amongst a great team. Perhaps the best parts of this year have been when someone says something outrageous when not thinking in the office!
YP: And the most challenging?
MB: That's a tricky question! I have really enjoyed all the theological training from this year, but there were times when I had to soften my heart, humble myself and change my understanding to what the Bible clearly teaches. Some foundational assumptions that I'd made as I'd grown up needed to be corrected and the outworking of this knowledge was challenging at times.
AH: The most challenging thing for me has been the constant demand Impact has on your life and trying to balance that with everything else going on. Don't get me wrong it's great but a year full time serving the Church is just that - Full time! Also, If I'm honest I've found spending personal time with God difficult. It's about taking responsibility to spend that time with Him and not just assuming that because you're working full time for a church you get some special "God Pass".
YP: What are some of your favourite places around Brighton?
CS: I love sitting in the Laine having lunch and watching the people. Only in Brighton is there such a collection of people and its great to watch. I also enjoy going up for a drink at Devil's Dyke. It's a great place to get out of the City and enjoy a good view.
AH: Chris, I've never once seen you sit in the Laine "watching people"! For me, in the summer there is nowhere like Brighton Beach. So much going on! ‘Gemini' on the seafront is definitely a winner. In fact, anywhere outside with a live band has my vote, except if ‘Simply Red' play, they're a terrible terrible band. Also as an Impact team we normally go to Wetherspoons on a Friday for lunch... we call it ‘Wetherspoons Fridays'... It's original, I know.
MB: Well, I'm from Hove actually! Apparently this is the joke to tell if you're from Hove, but if I'm honest I try and see Brighton and Hove as one because it is one mission field for us as a church! Anyway, I love the beach(es?) and Hove lawns, Preston Park, Stammer Park - anywhere natural really! BBQs on the beach are great fun, but have learnt to take plenty of layers with me!