The United Diocese of Down And Dromore


Celebrating with our SERVE graduates

Celebrating with our SERVE graduates

Friday 30 November 2018

Twenty–four young people from eleven different churches have just celebrated their graduation from the SERVE Young Leaders’ Training Course. 

Parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters came for a meal and graduation ceremony in Holywood Parish Centre on 28 November. In an evening bursting with potential, the SERVE participants, all aged between 15 and 18, took the lead in worship, reading, praying and sharing.

Bishop Harold presented the graduation certificates and was full of encouragement for the young people. He said:

“I’m just thrilled to be here tonight, thrilled to see all of you who have done the SERVE course standing up here so confidently, speaking about your faith, speaking about what you’ve learnt and seeing how important it is to you to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Let me encourage you to keep your Christian faith central, not just as a hobby or sideline. Make it your whole life so that your whole life becomes an example.”

The Class of ‘18 is the second group to complete the course and this year it ran in two locations – Church House, with Mark Wells, Rosie Woods and Tim Burns and in Holywood Parish, with Paul O’Neill and Charlotte Geddis.

Every one of the graduates would recommend SERVE to other young people in the diocese. Here’s what some of them said when they were interviewed on stage:

CertificateAt the start it was strange and difficult to actually think of yourself as a leader and to realise how hard it is. You have to challenge yourself and push yourself for the benefit of others. I also saw how important it is to surround yourself with Godly friends who will give you the encouragement that you need.

SERVE was a once in a lifetime experience. There’s so much that you can learn from session to session every week.

The biggest challenge was delivering talks to the rest of the group. I’d never done anything like that before but it was definitely a challenge I learned loads from.

I really enjoyed the fellowship that we had and the teaching. You learnt so much about how God can use you in your inabilities and that God is with you through everything.

The day we gave the speeches was one of the best. Just seeing how everybody had developed from the start of the course to the end and seeing our friends up there being able to deliver a speech and show leadership.


SERVE came from a vision to develop the young people who were coming through the Kilbroney Adventure Camps and in general to develop young leaders across the diocese.  Written by Tim Burns, Down and Dromore’s Youth Development Officer, it’s an eight–session discipleship course with four core elements: dinner together; a spiritual discipline ‘taster’; a chapter review of ‘Storylines’ by Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft and finally, teaching and discussion guided by the SERVE material. The participants also get some practical experience when they go along to the Kilbroney Blast Weekend as leaders.

Go to the graduation photo gallery


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