Dana and Leslie King moved to Yeovil, England to plant a church. Two plants have been cultivated – and a community ministry involving hundreds of kids and a local charity to foster support has been established. Dana shares a few principles – and some very practical ideas:

  • Involve community kids in planning and leading. Let them plan the day trips of their choice, the advertising for their friends and the incentives that will encourage them to involve their friends. Involve them in planning “bring-a-friend picnics” and have them cook. It will build their trust and confidence.
  • Plan events that serve the community and create a positive image of young people – thus creating community ownership and reducing local crime. Form youth groups that evaluate the needs of young people and then empower them to take it to their local city councils – thus giving them a positive voice in steering local developments. Get them filming and using their technical skills to serve the community. Have them produce a local newsletter portraying all local community events – or informing people of all of the creative and useful community services. Have kids or youth host events for other groups – such as the elderly or disabled. Get involved in cleaning a pond or local park – or painting a wall. 
  • Involve families – and meet their needs. Plan Family Day Trips. Always invite parents to end-of-term sessions for kids clubs and activities – and get them to bring the food, take the photographs and contact the news media (for promotion and news reports). Plan for the transition times for their children – such as the time when small children start school. Work with schools to bring parents together with other parents to help their children settle into starting school or changing school. If the kids are happy with you the parents will always support you and cheer you on – and they become a captive audience and close friends.
  • Never feel you have to verbally spill or seep the gospel to them. Kids are crying out for love, attention and time. Play pool with them, listen to them, be there for them, support them, empower them – just love them and love being with them. This is living the gospel. It is far more powerful than the verbal. They have enough verbal from their teachers and parents
  • We have found that the 'be with' factor is real. It changes lives and habits they see and experience it in action and want it. They will come to you for advice for you will be the most positive adult role model in their lives – and the most influential because you love them, you are not their parents and you don't make demands on them. We have young people that came up through our clubs now employed by us and volunteering for our projects. They carry and transfer our values and have become a strong influence for good in the community.

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