Pioneering youth work isn’t easy and yet absolutely vital for a generation that cries out for hope. Relationships with young people require time and trust. This is difficult when you are starting from scratch.
Andy (left in the photo) spent the last year pioneering youth work in a church plant north of Dublin. Together with another intern (Josh) they began meeting with three or four teenagers. As Andy and Josh invested in those teenagers, involved other young adults from the church, and began to provide alternatives to spending the evening on the street those teenagers began inviting their friends from school.
Andy and Josh finished their internships in the summer and have moved away. Six months on, there is a community of 15-20 teenagers of all nationalities, from a variety of religious backgrounds.
At the beginning most were indifferent to faith, were reluctant to go to church and certainly wouldn’t have described themselves as committed followers of Jesus. Today those teenagers have begun to own their faith and come to church (and Bible studies) voluntarily.
One thirteen year old’s response to being mugged recently was to pray and ask God to forgive his muggers!
To develop his leadership, Andy took part in Innovista’s intern Tempo group:
“Having to work on a clear vision for youth outreach in Donabate helped me to see the big picture and put plans in place to develop leaders who have carried after I have gone.
Before I was working day to day. Tempo gave me the opportunity to ask questions and clarify what we were doing. It enabled me to plan and put in place clear steps as to how we could build community and enable our teenagers to discover Jesus.”
Andy’s vision was to create a community where teenagers can feel safe and valued, and learn about Jesus. Emmanuel is one of those teenagers:
“When I started coming I was very shy and didn’t talk much – if at all but I was made to feel really welcome. Now I enjoy talking and laughing with the others. I brought a friend from school along and now he has brought another boy from our class.”
Tempo helped Andy develop a long term youth outreach that continues to impact young people and introduce them to Jesus long after he has finished his intern year.
There are lots of young leaders who are hungry to see change and develop their leadership skills. Perhaps you know some? Contact us and tell us the potential you see in them! Might they join new Tempo groups starting in Dublin at the end of January and Belfast in early February? Click here for more information.