Tim Adams asks itinerant worship leader, facilitator and musician Luke Hamlyn about his Year Out with Youth for Christ and why he’s climbing Mt Kilimanjaro…

How did you first get involved with Youth for Christ?

Nearly 20 years ago now, in the late 90s, I was nearing the end of 6th form and really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. At Spring Harvest I discovered the Youth for Christ stand and heard about their touring band: TVB, which travelled the country using popular music to communicate the gospel. It sounded like a great opportunity so I applied to join the team.

How long were you part of TVB and where did you go?

I spent 2 years playing electric guitar in the band, travelling throughout the UK and also in Europe. Most of our time was spent in schools taking part in lessons and assemblies, and inviting young people to a concert at the end of the week. As a young adult, it was an amazing experience to do something completely different and totally outside my comfort zone.

What impact did your Year Out with Youth for Christ have on you?

It was a foundational time for me. It showed me what Christian community looked like and I learnt a lot about myself, my gifts and what it means to step out and rely on God. I’d always loved music but during my time with Youth for Christ, I discovered a passion for using it to communicate the truth of the gospel and God’s love to young people.

How has it shaped what you’ve done since?

After my two years volunteering with Youth for Christ, I felt God was calling me back to London where I spent the next couple of years working for a local church. At this time, I started to get more opportunities to lead worship and play music at different churches and conferences. I felt God was saying “this is something I want you to step into full-time”.  So, for over 10 years now I’ve been using music to connect with people and communicate God’s heart for them. I lead people in worship and equip others to do the same. And all this started for me back in those early years on the road with TVB when music and faith connected.

How have you remained connected to Youth for Christ?

I initially stayed in touch with Youth for Christ through playing at events with Youth for Christ’s then singer/songwriter and worship leader: Andy Flannagan. I then lead The Year Out worship stream for a number of years, providing training for The Year Out volunteers who wanted to pursue worship leading. It’s been a joy to work with Youth for Christ in many different settings and my connection with the movement has lasted almost 20 years.

How did you hear about The Climb?

In November 2017, I was at a Youth for Christ fundraising dinner with some friends. Neil O’Boyle sent out some letters afterwards thanking people for coming and promoting The Climb. At first glance it looked interesting but I didn’t think much about it. When my wife picked it up and said, ‘Have you thought about this?’ I felt God stir something in me.

Why did you decide to get involved?

I pondered it for a bit before I plucked up the courage to enquire further and I’m so glad I did. I love that Youth for Christ reaches young people with the gospel and invests in young leaders who go on to do great things, much like the way Youth for Christ invested in me back in the day. The Climb is a brilliant opportunity to do something extraordinary, increase awareness of Youth for Christ’s work and raise money to invest back into the next generation of leaders. Before I knew it, I’d said yes.

How are preparations going?

I’m working hard on getting fitter and doing lots of walking. It’s getting nearer now so things are ramping up a bit more. I’m also preparing by doing research on what to expect, reading blogs and watching videos online of people who’ve done it before. It’s pretty inspiring stuff!

What are you most concerned about/looking forward to?

I think my biggest challenge will be the physical side of it but I’m really looking forward to climbing with a great group of people and seeing the beauty of creation in that part of the world. I believe it’s going to be a significant God-experience as well and I’m looking forward to what He will teach me through the challenge. It’s out of my comfort zone but the rewards will be magnificent.

How can people join in and support you as you climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Visiting the website and pledging some money to sponsor me would be amazing. It’s also a great opportunity to let other people know about the incredible work of Youth for Christ. And of course, I’d appreciate people praying for me as I prepare and train for The Climb, as well as when we actually take on the mountain and make our way to the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Sponsor Luke