Hold On To What Is Deer

Depending on your personality and grasp of the English language, right now your fingers might be twitching towards the “comment” button to point out that I’ve used the wrong form of “dear”, but stick with it and (hopefully) it will make sense in a couple of paragraphs.

A few weeks ago, WYWT attended a learning community.  This learning community has been a 2 year cycle that we have now come to the end of.  The idea behind them is that every 6 months different youth work teams come together for a bit of youth work training, setting the vision for youth work, and to plan on the priorities for the next months for each ministry.  In between these conferences, the key leaders from each team meet for coaching on these 6 month goals and to pray for each other.

This conference was the fourth and final on this 2 year cycle, and the focus was Legacy.

I know that in my life I have noticed that for better or worse, people are very good at naturally replicating themselves in others. Often this is a good thing, when you see yourself having a positive effect on others, but there are times when it is less than desirable.  I’ve never been a parent, but I have discipled people before, and one of the times that I feel the biggest letdown as a discipler is when I see shortcomings from my own life replicated in the life of those I disciple.  One of the key ideas at this conference was that in order to build legacy that represents what we stand for as a ministry, we must first examine what is core to us. The picture we were given was of a 3-year old with their safety blanket, and when put in the position of giving it up had a meltdown.  We were then challenged to think through the things about our identity that we wanted to protect with that much fervour.


For WYWT, this came down to four things:

  • Discipleship
  • Evangelistic (Missional)
  • Ecumenical
  • Relational

Potentially, these phrases won’t all make sense to you, so here’s a brief description of what they mean generally, and specifically to WYWT.

1. Discipleship

Dallas Willard describes discipleship as ‘the process of becoming who Jesus would be if He were you.’ I really like this picture of moving towards the same goal of being like Jesus, but keeping the individuality of who you are.  This is the heart of discipleship, and something that is key for us, both for all of us working for/with WYWT, and the picture that we want to instil in all the young people that we are working with as we help them to navigate this.

2. Evangelistic (Missional)

Personally, I prefer the word ‘missional’ to the word ‘evangelistic’, but missional doesn’t work as well when I was trying to come up with an acronym, and I really like the “deer” acronym as a means of remembering our core values.  Being a missionary usually conjures up the idea of going overseas, but in todays world we need domestic missionaries as much as international ones.  Being missional is the idea that church is not just for the people who are already going, but for everyone, and in the world we are now a part of we can no longer expect the world to come to us, but we need to be stepping into their context and being a light in their setting.  Being evangelistic is about helping people to move closer to God; it’s the same idea, but being missional (to me) implies a higher level of intentionality that I think is important.

3. Ecumenical

Ecumenical is just a fancy word to say that the different denominations of the Church are working together on one venture.  One of the proudest facets of WYWT is the fact that 3 of the major churches in Woodstock are all involved with and supporting us.  This is definitely something we want to hold onto.

4. Relational

Being relational feeds in really nicely to being missional.  It’s the idea of being intentional in relationships as a means of sharing life and faith to cultivate that interest in others. Young people today have a vacuum in their lives for people that believe in them and take the time to care for them.  This leaves the perfect opportunity for us to step in and fill that role in their lives as a basis for being missional and doing discipleship.

These are the 4 values that are core to WYWT, and are at the centre of all that we decide to do.  Hopefully now you can see how these factor into all the different things that we do and run.


Published by Matt

In a paragraph: To help teenagers in Woodstock engage in their own faith journey, realise their true identity in Christ, and become leaders through discipleship and mission in the community, combining work from the school, the local churches, and within the community. In a sentence: To help teenagers in Woodstock realise their true identity in Christ through discipleship and mission, and engage them as disciple-makers. In a word: Reproductive-discipleship.

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