On a recent trip leading a group of young people down Smallcleugh mine in Nenthead, it struck me just how much trust these people put in us.
Looking back to your first underground trip, it is easy to remember the apprehension you feel as you leave the comfort of the outside world and step into the dark confined space of the mine.
Many of these mining systems have hundreds of miles of complicated passageways – none of which you know.
You are given a lamp with a limited battery life – without it you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.
You are surrounded by potential hazards – none of which you have the experience to identify.
As a member of a mine exploration session you put total trust in the leader as you follow them through these passages. You trust that the leader knows the layout and the hazards, that they have the equipment to negotiate these passages and that they have the experience and qualifications to get you through safely.
This is a lot of trust and a lot of responsibility that these participants are putting in you as their leader when they follow you into that mine. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that this trust is not misplaced; you know the route, you have gained the qualifications and experience, you are continuously pushing yourself to learn more – a lot of work, but essential.
As a Christian seeking to spread the word of the Gospel you have the same responsibilities to the people that follow you on this path. If you are going to lead people on a journey of exploration you need to be prepared, you need to know what you are talking about by putting the effort into reading and studying the Bible. Without this pursuit of personal knowledge, how can we lead others?
As someone seeking faith you look to your Christian peers to seek knowledge about the life of a Christian.
This is a lot of trust and a lot of responsibility that people are putting in you when they follow you into that journey. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that this trust is not misplaced – a lot of work, but essential.