Keri Fishlock from Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Harpenden recently shared with us details on their Community Development Hub which offers a 6-month Community Development School, a 1-week Community Development Seminar, a 1-week Discipleship Training School, and other trainings customized for interested parties. From Keri:
YWAM Harpenden has been running an excellent 6-month Community Development School for a number of years–including teaching from the likes of Bob Moffitt! However, we have recently expanded on this by launching what we are calling a “Community Development Hub” and I’d like to share a little about this journey.
Our Community Development School has a leaning toward the materially poor–and thus includes practical topics such as healthcare, water and sanitation in addition to the core curriculum. These are important topics indeed, but I think this can sometimes lead to a misunderstanding that “community development” equals building toilets or other such activities.
This is unfortunate because the Community Development School is, in fact, much deeper and broader than that. “Community Development” is a vague label at best, but we have been using a definition along the lines of “Helping communities discover their true identity and step towards God’s intentions.”
Community development, framed as such, is one of the biggest topics of all:
- It’s about the Kingdom of God overcoming the kingdom of darkness;
- It’s about Jesus bringing life to the full, undoing the work of the thief who comes only to steal, kill and destroy;
- It’s about Truth replacing the lies of the enemy;
- It’s about seeing more of the Kingdom of God expressed in our families, communities and nations;
- It’s about men and women developing right relationships with God, other people and the physical world.
Regarded as such, community development is the need of every community and the responsibility of every believer. It’s about discipling individuals, families, communities and nations.
Time and time again, I have seen this teaching be transformational in the thinking of our students.
However, we can’t expect everyone to do a 6-month school, and that is why we started the Community Development Hub–our goal is to help emphasize some key biblical principles from the school more widely both within YWAM and beyond. We want to help Christians impact their communities in ways that bring lasting transformation.
How are we doing that? It’s a big goal, and we are really just two people in an office at our YWAM training campus. We are not super-heroes with all the answers, but I do think God has put something within us to share. We are doing what we can: promoting, training, and networking with others. For instance, when there’s a need, we’ll run an intensive 3-day training seminar for half a dozen people.
Recently, I have also felt God start to turn my attention to my own nation, the British Isles, and we are running an event in October in partnership with DNA called “To Disciple A Nation” to explore this topic further and gather around this task.
YWAM Harpenden Community Development Hub