In the work that Youth Unlimited has been involved in over the years, we have found that many young people struggle to feel as though they can ‘fit’ into a typical, traditional church, both before and after they have become committed to following Jesus in a personal relationship with him. Rather than pressuring them to adopt a church culture that feels foreign to them, we have looked into helping to develop alternative expressions of what ‘church’ can look like along side existing churches. Our goal is to introduce young people and their families to Jesus, and then explore with them what following him as part of a community of faith might look like as we study our bibles, and seek to follow Jesus’ teachings, his example, and his call to continue to help others discover him as we have done. Along with coming alongside interested churches to help them rethink how they might more effectively engage in the lives of young people, we are also making an effort to create new communities of faith, organized around a shared sense of being sent together to engage in mission to the neighbourhoods or people groups of the young people we’re working with.
In practice, this means developing discipleship communities that are:
We understand that it is the responsibility of the people who have discovered Jesus to follow him out into the world, to help those who don’t yet know Him get to know Him, and that it ought to be in the process of engaging in Christ’s mission together that we will get to know Him better, become more like him, and learn to use the gifts and abilities he’s given us.
We understand that the Holy Spirit lives in us if we have come to know Jesus, and we are now part of the Body of Christ, physically representing Jesus to the world as we let Him love them through us.
We are experimenting with developing local churches that are groups of Jesus-followers who share in common a sense of calling to be in mission in a particular place or to a particular group of people, and who live out together the relationships they have with each other, and the mission that they are engaged in, every day, not just on Sundays or in particular meetings).
It is our desire at Youth Unlimited to develop expressions of missional church in partnership with existing churches, partly out of the value we place on their wisdom and experience, partly out of a desire to inspire others in the wider church as they engage in serving the community around them, and partly in recognition that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom we wish to live in unity. If you’d like more information or if you have questions about any of this, please contact us.