Fronting up - Robyn Burnett

What does your role involve?
I have two very exciting new roles; for half of my time I am the youth director at St Margaret’s Presbyterian Church in Bishopdale (Christchurch) and for the other half of my time I am assistant to National Youth Coordinator - South and am the regional youth coordinator for Christchurch. As youth director at St Margs I get to hang out with some fantastic youth leaders, some amazing young people and oversee the youth ministries that happen there. In my national/regional role I am here to support youth leaders and youth ministries in Presbyterian churches mainly in Christchurch. Also I support and assist Stephanie Redhead in her role as National Youth Coordinator – South.

Why did you choose this ministry?
Arguably this ministry chose me… I have always been a people person and have also had a big heart to help people. After university I was working in a “dead end” job and while overseas I decided I wanted more. After coming back I began an internship at Bible College of New Zealand with Hornby Presbyterian Community Church. Throughout that journey I discovered a passion for young people that naturally progressed into what I’m doing now.

What have you learned about God through this work?
One thing I’ve learnt… A friend e-mailed me recently with Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I guess I always thought I understood this but since beginning this new chapter in my life, these two new jobs, I have been learning that if he calls you he will remain faithful and will give you the strength you need to face every challenge that comes your way; and they will come.

What is the most exciting thing about being involved in it?
I am passionate about young people reaching their potential and growing to know God. What I love about my two jobs is one that I get to hang out with some amazing young people and journey with them and it’s always exciting to see God become real for them. And two I get to see and work with some fantastic people who are doing really great stuff in their own patches yet they’re having an impact on the whole country. I am excited about what God is doing in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, particularly in youth ministry and am constantly challenged about what God has in store for us in the future.

What have been the biggest challenges?
For me it’s been seeing beyond my own perceived limitations. I often feel like Moses who didn’t want to take up his God-given leadership. I am learning that God has chosen me so I just have to keep putting myself in his care and he will do the rest.

Who has inspired you?
God has blessed me with amazing people in my life so it’s difficult to narrow it down but here are a few. My Grandmother inspired me because she was the person who I always felt the most love from as I was growing up. My parents constantly inspire me, they love God above all and I wouldn’t even have a relationship with God if it wasn’t for them. Janice Talbot inspires me she has walked the journey with me never judging me and her love for people even in her own difficult situation is so inspiring. Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Bono. There’s so many more but I should stop there…

Where to from here/ what are future plans?
Well…I would have never in a million years thought I would be doing what I’m doing so all I can say is watch this space. However I am planning on seeing and connecting with as many people in Presbyterian churches as possible, so if you’re in Christchurch (particularly but not exclusively) and I haven’t contacted you then PLEASE contact me.

Do you have any recommended books/CDs?
CDs: I recommend anything from Dave Matthews, U2, Third Day, and Brooke Fraser.

My favourite books have to be Blue Like Jazz Searching for God knows What Wild OnesFinding Life

Where can I learn more about what you do?
You can contact me on robyn(at)stmargaretsbishopdale.co.nz or call (03) 359-0149 or 027 367-1168. I would love to hear from you especially if you’re in Christchurch and I haven’t met you yet

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