“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it to the full” (Jesus, John 10:10). Youthwork pioneer Mark Yaconelli famously said that youthorkers “are passing on the way to stay alive.”
In the midst of the crazed, gut-wrenching frenzy of youthwork there is a constant, sometimes subversive and sometimes outright battle between the thief and the life bringer. A battle between darkness and light, between death and life. There’s nothing less than life at stake in what we do.
It’s appropriate then that this morning we heard stories from people on the frontline. Youthwork Conference’s opening session today, ‘Youth Work Works’ brought us compassion-driven youth projects from all over the UK. They were, without exception, incredible examples of youthwork passing on the way to stay alive. Check out the live blog for the session here.
I’m particularly encouraged by two values that came up in one way or another in just about every presentation. These make for two great challenges for us to talk about with our teams back home.
1. Meet genuine needs with what God has given you. See what the young people in your area are struggling with, and by working with the resources that God has provided reach to address those specific needs.
The youth work works speakers demonstrated that we don’t need any more flat-packed, cookie cutter youth projects. Instead we need a step out in faith to do something new and innovative and to take risks for the Kingdom where we live.
2. Give more responsibility to young people. Billy Graham fervently believed that the best way to bring a young person to Jesus is through another young person. It’s amazing therefore, to see youth workers inviting young people into the planning, problem solving and practice behind youth projects.