Big thank you from

Jenny Munro talks to John McClean

CAPTAIN John McClean CAPTAIN John McClean is a Salvation Army Minister and Regional Youth officer. The Salvation Army is launching a new worship programme at the Lisburn Salvation Army Hall, Rushmore Drive, Ballymacoss on Easter Sunday at 11 am.

John is the Director of Youth Ministry for the whole of Ireland. He comes from Stranraer in Scotland but has lived in Northern Ireland for two years.

His wife Kat is also a Minister and Youth Officer. They have two young children and share their time working between Lisburn and Belfast.

With a toddler and a newborn baby at home I am awake very early in the morning. After breakfast I pray and read scriptures. Every so often I have to attend a school assembly first thing in the morning but most days I head directly to my office in Belfast. I check emails, make telephone calls, speak to the staff, plan events and develop ideas on how to improve the service which the Youth Ministry offers.

After lunch I head to the H2O centre in Lisburn. H2O - which stands for 'Hope to Offer' - attempts to offer new hope to the Christian community and revive the spirit. The H2O project has been running for a few months. Even though the community in Lisburn looks fine outwardly, what the people need most is hope. H2O is something that seeks to offer hope and a future through the love and power of Jesus Christ and modelling authentic community.

The key of the H2O project is to build a community for the future. The programme mainly consists of a youth drop-in centre, a children's club and some detached work. Our hope is that the spiritual temperature of the local community will rise and that we will see the community change in its understanding of who they are. Our prayer is that by being real, people will feel valued.

We are committed to provide programmes that can engage the youth into all areas: worship, mission, discipleship and social action.

In the afternoon I regularly make pastoral visits in the local community and visit people in hospital. As we are also busy re-launching the church in Lisburn I am trying to raise awareness of the new worship programme. After dinner I might take a 'prayer walk' around the community with my wife handing out leaflets letting people know about the worship programme.

My evenings are always very busy. I am responsible for the Youth Brass Band and have a Chaplancy role with the Youth Choir. They have their own specific music leaders but I am in charge of the general management.

I work at H2O in the evenings too and interact with the young people who call in to play games, chill out and maybe enjoy a hot drink. Too many young people don't have a relationship with Jesus and see the church as something that is either dead or completely irrelevant to their lives. We at the Salvation Army have a responsibility to do something about this.

I am usually back at my house for 9 o'clock. I'll spend time with my family and prepare sermons and PowerPoint presentations. 1 also try and fit some study in too as Kat and I are both studying for Master's degrees.

We hope to create a church for those who aren't normally interested. There will be modern music and sermons and we hope many people in the local area will come along.

Ulster Star