16 Nov, 2018 Godtalk national youth initiative – exciting Phase II launch

85% of those who come to faith do so before the age of 20. It’s a statistic worth considering.

 

Church youth ministry still in decline

In 2015 and 2016 our team used spare time in pastors’ gatherings around NZ to ask how youth ministry was going. We discovered that youth ministries are attending (in total in each place) about 1/3 to 1/4 of what they were 25 years ago. Youth leaders are still lasting only about 18 months each also – and they said that outreach equipping wasn’t really happening.

(The decline is a continuing reality also. E.g. A denomination that is notable in its youth work had statistics come out this year revealing a huge decline in youth attendance in the past decade).

Godtalk is the result.

A simple and practical vision for ALL NZ youth ministries

Godtalk has two core goals

  • Outreach training in every NZ youth ministry every year
  • Those youth encouraged to pray together in their schools about how they best represent Christ (I.e. student led, adult supported, prayer based and action oriented).

But getting this happening nationally is another thing entirely! This blog will summarise where this national effort is up to – and then tell you the three new things God has just graced us to add 🙂

A fast-developing and significant scope

So it is noted, we tried to give this initiative away to other organisations (a few times) – but failed. Since starting it we’ve tried a few times more, with the same result. We’ve felt the Lords promptings. We find ourselves stewarding a vision far bigger than us – because a national, non-denominational youth network is the goal, with regional motivational and equipping events, intentional outreach training in every youth ministry, and vibrant Christian school groups in every secondary school! 

We created the first equipping videos (Godtalk.nz/equipping), so young youth leaders could now easily equip their youth for conversational outreach.

We then knew we needed to build the network. So on our 2017 travels (with the Hope Project) we ran 2 seminars with gatherings of youth leaders in 55 cities and towns. The result was a network of 250 youth ministries and 450 subscribers.

But to thrive it needed more. This is why we started the ‘Godtalk Regional Reps team‘ (concurrently with the above). The reps job is to promote the above two goals – and the support resources. We have 13 reps currently, who have all been in their roles less than one year. We’re learning – and see real potential.

The vision for online resources was always to have a short video series (1) on outreach equipping, (2) another on basic leadership training (related to outreach), and (3) a final on schools. So this year we created the leadership series, that you can see on your right. It’s found at Godtalk.nz/leadership – and the above picture is the small launch event we had for this.

The NEW Godtalk Leadership video series

This series is OUTSTANDING!

  • 12 x min videos (under 1 hour total) – with reflection/discussion guides
  • If a pastor is in a church 10 years, they will have 5 or more youth leaders in that time. With each they (1) give them the videos to watch, then have coffee with the new youth leader 90 minutes later and ask them what they learnt. (2) They clarify that annual outreach training is an expectation of their role – and show them where the free equipping videos are (Godtalk.nz/equpping) and (3) ask the youth leader to now choose 4 to 6 younger leaders they will train up, and to use these 12 leadership videos with them over the coming year.
  • (And if you watch through the videos, the content is exceptional, and the presenters are authentic – because all have experience, like in youth ministry, young adult ministry, and 4 are young teachers!)

Check it out at Godtalk.nz/leadership.

However there was a part of this vision that we couldn’t pursue, because we didn’t have a staff. It was the events. While having reps is great, to gain momentum this thing needs a ‘boom’ in each place, adding excitement and ‘weight’ to the equipping + school groups vision.

…then we met Raki Wiringi.

The new staff: Ps Raki Wiringi

Raki and Karen pastor a church plant, and Raki has years of experience in youth work behind him. This includes both in a church context, but also in a professional context. He has written youth education programmes that the Ministry of Education has approved, and that have been used in schools. They have 4 children, and couple of grandchildren already  – and he’s fine musician too!

Regional Godtalk Talent Quests

With Raki’s arrival, the plan to have regional Talent Quests is thus back on the table. It’s the logical way to motivate youth and their leaders!

  • During the day there are auditions, with about 8 categories. Youth use creative and cultural arts to communicate Christian messages in a manner suiting the public square (like their schools).
    • Between items there are 3 to 5 minute motivational messages from Godtalk staff, youth leaders and youth – about outreach, conversations with friend, school groups, and the testimonies of youth who’ve done bold things.
  • In the evenings they invite their friends along – and the winners perform, with the Christian message communicated clearly, and youth invited to consider faith in Jesus.
  • Then – back at school, they wonder what to do in their Christian group and remember that amazing performance by those youth from the town next door. So they invite them to perform in a lunch hour etc…

We thank God that this effort has come to this stage, and pray to see 4 or more regions starting these Godtalk Talent Quests in 2019!

Where to next?

We see no limitations – while accepting God as the boss. If God graces Raki and his team of regional reps to see Godtalk Talent Quests happening regionally…

  • A national Godtalk Talent Quest makes sense – with the regional winners participating (older ones will think back to the days of CTC under YFC)
  • Staff in the regions would also make sense, (i) facilitating inter-church outreach efforts and events, (ii) while encouraging all youth ministries to have a focus on outreach and (iii) serving, helping and encouraging youth as they run their own Christian groups in their schools.

No one else is targeting schools ministry in NZ.

  • No one else has the scope of reach to encourage intentionality in outreach equipping – although Word of Life Ministries (based int he South Waikato) do an amazing job in this area with the network of churches they are connected with.
  • A number of others do events (UNASHAMED, Equippers, Arise, Excel + other denominational ones I’m aware of that go to only 2 or 3 provinces) – but there is space for all this.

 

Could you please support this new initiative that already has national scope?

We thank God for what he has done, with resources being used all over the national already, and invite your support!

  • You can subscribe for monthly Godtalk updates (via email) at the bottom of the homepage at Godtalk.nz
  • You can use those to guide your prayers
  • You can use the equipping videos
  • You can use the leadership videos with your youth leaders  (or pass them on to your youth leader and pastor)
  • You can check out the suggestions on how schools groups work best (Godtalk.nz/schools) and stay connected to hear ideas, and could invite input.
  • And you can give financially! We’ve got to this point without a staff paid to build this, and with very few donations. As with most of our innovations (as the Shining Lights Trust), people feel sceptical at first – because it is only human. But if our track-record is considered, and the scope of the above prior to staff is considered also – this could be a great ‘entrepreneurial’ investment!

It is very rare that something is positioned to achieve what this could: The resurrection of a national, non-denominational, outreach-focused youth network!

Please spread the word. Please participate. Please support!

 

Dave-director-smll
DAVE MANN. Dave is a creative communicator with a vision to see an understanding of the Christian faith continuing, and also being valued, in the public square in Aotearoa-New Zealand. He has innovated numerous conversational resources for churches, and is currently coordinated a 4th nationwide multimedia project purposed to help open conversation between church and non-church people about Christianity and the way our nation’s most treasured values have come from it. Dave is the author of various books and booklets including “Because we care”, “That Leaders might last”, “The Elephant in the Room”, and available for free on this site: “The What and How of Youth and Young Adult ministry”. 
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