It is always intriguing when you are invited into someone else’s home; to feel welcomed, to be allowed somewhere reserved for specially invited guests. The same is true even at a Palace.
Such was the experience as our President, The Most Revd. and Rt Hon. Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu welcomed us to his home. We met at Bishopthorpe Palace, to share the vision for potential new projects with some of our partners. Dr Sentamu spoke passionately about the pleasure he has experienced serving as our President, and as a partner himself, for over 15 years. He has commissioned hundreds of young people, staff and volunteers into evangelistic mission. The Archbishop also opened our head office (where we recently celebrated 10 years of ministry).
Areas of Potential
As a team, we took the opportunity to share three distinct areas of potential new ministry with our partners…
- The birth of a Families Ministry – supporting young people from unchurched backgrounds who make life decisions to follow Jesus. Discipling them within their home and enabling the whole family to explore who Jesus is and what it means to follow Him.
- The expansion of our In Prisons ministry – building our presence in young offenders’ institutes throughout the country, supporting those who are serving in custody as they discover what Jesus has planned for them.
- Local presence across the North of England – with a vision to increase and support regular engagement with young people at a local level. We are very excited to be developing youth work in the Archbishop’s home city of York itself.
This was a new venture for us, as we seek to build our relationships with those who support us. We are clear on the mission God has given Youth for Christ. It’s to take good news relevantly to every young person in Britain. Yet we are mindful that we cannot do this alone. It is only through the partnership of hundreds of individuals and churches that we are able to turn this vision into action, and that action into the lives of young people being changed by Jesus.
Passions Ignited at the Palace
As the archbishop welcomed us into his home, we were excited to welcome friends old and new into the life of Youth for Christ. It was encouraging to see people’s passions ignited as they listened to each of the stories and the heart behind the potential new ministries.
Guests heard directly from members of the Youth for Christ team who work in specific fields of ministry. Firstly, Head of Church Resources for 7-11s and Families, Jo Squires, spoke about helping young Christians introduce their family to Jesus. Secondly, Rob McGibbon, Head of Marginalised & Inclusion, painted a vivid picture of the ways in which Youth for Christ In Prisons has seen young offenders choose to live their lives for Jesus and how much more we want to grow this ministry. Finally, John Hawksworth, Local Ministries Senior Manager, outlined a vision for expanding our local presence across the North of England. This was in Carlisle, Bradford, Runcorn, Widnes and York.
The main priority of the day was to share vision. Yet it was to also to build relationships and give people the opportunity to financially help get the projects off the ground. Neil shared with the room the clear need for financial support in each of these areas. He also gave an invitation to those present to get behind a ministry, according to which most caught their heart. God was present in each of the talks; in the challenge from the Archbishop, the invitation to respond from the National Director and attendees’ responses.
Fulfilling the Vision
We were truly blown away by the financial, gifts which exceeded £80,000. Most Importantly, though, we’re looking forward to launching new ministries in all three areas over the coming months. Besides that, God continues to bless us with amazing partnership support and a real dependency on partnerships with others. He also provides the right amount of financial income to continue fulfilling the vision He gives us.