Last year we launched our ‘Manifesto for 21st Century Youthwork’. Our vision is to enable churches to develop ‘youthwork that works’, by building on any existing work,  making this stronger, and then help the church seek out new opportunities to reach out to young people in the wider community. Ultimately, we want to see churches develop youthwork based on relationships, not activity.

The first church to commit to the Manifesto project was Leamington Spa Baptist Church. Peter Den Haan, the minister of the church, had a few conversations with Andy about the Manifesto and he was very keen to start something as soon as possible, they just needed a Youth Mission Enabler to get things started! 

The church didn’t have a youth group but there were a number of young people within the church family. So we decided to start by focusing on them and what they might need. It was important to do something different with this group, and give the young people  a place where they could share openly and ask questions about life and faith. So in October last year, Ryan McNair, one of our Youth Mission Enablers, helped the church launch a ‘Life Explored’ group, covering things like what is the meaning of life and where does God fall into that.

Ryan said “There’s no assumption of faith or assumed knowledge. A few of us meet on Thursday evenings and we have some meaningful discussions and try to build relationships with the young people.” We truly believe that this will be a turning point for these young people’s lives, and we can’t wait to see how God is going to move in Leamington Spa Baptist Church!

On a similar note, James Yates, also one of our Youth Mission Enablers, has recently started working with Holy Trinity Church in Leamington Spa as they have a strong desire to see the church grow and reach out to more young people. There’s so much potential in the church for various reasons. First it’s located in the town centre, the facilities are fantastic and the people are lovely and really want to see things going.

Esther Peers, the church leader, has been in contact with Andy for a while, and had conversations about partnering with Thrive and the Mission Enabler scheme. After having various meetings with the committee and leadership team, everything has been finalised to start the Manifesto project. So we are just so excited to finally start a group and offer a place where young people can come together and feel like they belong!

Recently, Holy Trinity has also appointed a new Music Director, with a lot of experience in traditional choral music. The Music Director is amazing and very enthusiastic, and has such a heart for God. He came in and straight away the team knew he had to be involved in working with the young people doing music. The plan was clear, there would be a time of music and singing but there would also be key elements of youthwork like food, discussion and time to be together and build community. 

The idea is that there’s a connection between these two worlds. James shared “The Music Director said that he is experienced at putting together music groups, he has done it all his career, his previous job was as a director of music at a cathedral, and could set up a choir and set up an orchestra, recruit young people and get them to really good standards, get them to do concerts and a bunch of different things, and they would be really good, but probably not always focused on faith development. What he wants to do is get a group of young people together and explore what music looks like, get young people serving in the church and exploring faith. And it might look scary but that’s where we are at with it. So we’ve started a weekly youth choir to enjoy worshipping and singing together, and to explore faith as well.”

Please continue to pray for these churches and the people involved in the Manifesto project, as we believe this is going to make a real Kingdom difference.