A little over four years ago a team from British Youth for Christ (YFC) visited Hereford with a cage. They erected this cage in various places, including in the centre of High Town, where passers-by were invited to play two-a-side football (soccer). Our church were hosting the team so helped out at the High Town event, where our daughter Beth, who was fourteen at the time, spent most of the day kicking a ball around in the cage. From that moment she knew that she wanted to be part of the YFC cage football team one day. This year she applied to YFC, and after an interview was invited to join the team, which is known as Nomad.
The Nomad year began at the end of August 2014. Since then they have taken the cage to various places. Their busiest week to date was in the small town of Clevedon where they took the cage into the local high school by day, and into the YMCA every evening. During a very full week the team engaged with numerous young people. By the end of the week the four Nomad team members were buzzing.
They were still buzzing on 18 October 2014 when they and almost 100 other new YFC staff members and volunteers were commissioned at a service in Birmingham. After the service we joined the team and two other sets of parents for a meal. The father of the team leader mentioned in passing that his son told him that he had the best job in the world as it involved playing football and telling young people about Jesus.
Youth for Christ are in the business of telling young people about Jesus. While Nomad and Stance (street dance) are touring teams, most of the work takes place through YFC centres where staff and volunteers reach out to young people in their communities in many different ways. Interestingly, most of the work of YFC does not take place in church on Sundays. It takes place everywhere and anywhere but church, and on every other day of the week. That, combined with the enthusiasm and willingness of the volunteers, seems to be what is making a difference. And that’s the key. Making a difference, whatever (which happened to be the theme of the ten-minute talk at the end of the afternoon). So if the key to making a difference is what happens away from church in the week, whatever are those of us who gather in church every Sunday going to do about it?
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:12-17 NLT)