In collaboration with Youthscape, a wonderful strategic British youth organisation, and under the umbrella of the European Youth Ministry Network, LeadNow offered a six-month Learning Community online. This started in October 2021 and finished in April 2022.
The total of six evenings focussed on the following question: What does it mean to resume youth work under pandemic conditions?
Together with experienced leaders, we discussed what needed to change, what should stay, how to evaluate our own youth work and how young people can influence the church. Fifteen leaders from 8 countries (Belgium, Germany, England, Italy, Kosovo, Netherlands, Slovakia, Turkey) were taking part in this free offer.
As we hosted this while the war started in the Ukraine, one evening we welcomed Sasha from Youth for Christ Ukraine to provide us with an update and then we prayed for him. As the sirens went off, he moved to the corridor as this was the safest place in the house. The war became even more real to us. On the other hand our friends from Kosovo were there sharing from their war experience and how God had helped them through.
Each evening someone presented a case and received feedback. One of the moving stories was a couple in Norway sharing about their church plant among a Muslim community and how they live temporarily under police protection. But they are all in and totally passionate about the work with the young generation.
At the conclusion, Rebecca and Esther shared what they had gained from it:
“The wonderful thing about this European Learning Community is that a connection is made with people across the continent. It’s encouraging to talk to people from very different countries and feel so connected through a shared passion for Jesus, His church and His new (younger) generation.” Rebecca, Belgium
“It is very interesting to learn about youth work in other contexts through the Learning Community and to hear about each other’s good practices and case studies. It inspires me to see how God is working in the lives of young people all over Europe. Also, it is a blessing to pray for each other, for the work and the challenges.” Esther, Netherlands