It's National Volunteers' Week, and when I reflect on the major influences in my life, SU volunteers rank right up there with my parents and youth group leader. It was SU volunteers who ran a group for senior pupils in Edinburgh that opened up my understanding of the Bible and of the huge benefits of fellowship with Christians from a wide variety of backgrounds. It was there that I learned to pray out loud. And it was an SU volunteer who then encouraged me to be part of their camp team and to begin to learn to serve, using the gifts God had given me. Since then, time and again it has been watching committed SU volunteers in action that has given me fresh motivation for ministry. People like you have made a huge difference in my life. Thank you for all you do to influence children and young people across Scotland; helping them explore the Bible and respond to Jesus.
The volunteers I encountered were not household names or big-time preachers. They were followers of Jesus who, like you, took interest in others, shared their lives as well as their words and encouraged us to see we had a contribution to make. They did what they could and it made a difference. I am part of SU staff today largely because of their input. The future of SU ministry depends on people like you sharing the vision and telling the stories that will engage many in ministry to children and young people in Scotland. Paul says: "those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 3:13). You have an excellent standing; may the Lord give you great assurance.