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July 2023

The Difference of One Year


On June 9 of 2022, my wife Becky and I drove from our then home in New York, to Toronto. We were on our way to attend and help host a reception to officially announce the launching of Young Life ministry in Toronto. The reception, held at St. Clement's Anglican Church in Midtown, was on a perfect June evening and was a great success as we connected with the 15-20 attendees.


On June 9, 2023, one year later to the day, we had the first meeting of our newly-formed Young Life Toronto Advisory Board (a little more on that later). At this meeting, among other things, we celebrated the recent hiring of Edith Nabulya to Young Life staff in Toronto. It was at the reception one year previous that we had first met her. It was amazing to reflect together on how much had happened in a year. It reminds me of one of my favorite teachings of Jesus on the organic nature of the Kingdom of God: Mark 4:26-29 (ESV)


This parable likens the Kingdom of God to the mysterious process of producing grain through the farmer diligently but patiently working with the unseen realities of the organic growing process. This parable grabbed my attention in light of the events of last few years as it felt like so much of what we were used to was being torn down. This parable reminded me that the Kingdom is organic and will grow according to its own unseen power and mechanisms. What we are seeing in Young Life in Toronto is continuing to teach me about the truths hidden in this parable.


 

An Update on Three Different Fronts


Community Dinners



On June 1st and June 29th, we had our last two community dinners of the season. The June 1 dinner served as a party to celebrate the hiring of Edith Nabulya to our Toronto staff and we had a tremendous turnout as you can see. We are so glad for all of the friendships that were made and deepened as a result of these monthly dinners.


The purpose of these dinners was to introduce friends to the mission and vision of Young Life in Toronto, and to invite people into something described by the phrase "mission community." The dinners helped to create community, and now we are going to work on the "mission" part of that phrase.


New Leadership Class Being Offered


In the fall, we will hold our first Toronto Young Life Volunteer Leader training class. The class will consist of 6 sessions held monthly from August through January, and will train participants in the theology and foundations of Young Life ministry. The material will focus on training people to be Young Life leaders in Toronto, but will be adaptable to apply to youth ministry in other contexts. All graduates of the class will be presented with a certificate of completion. We are hoping to have 15 people register for our fall class. Ultimately our hope is to train volunteers who will work in with teenagers in the ministry teams we will build in the coming year.


Young Life Toronto Advisory Board Established



On June 9, we held the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Board for Young Life Toronto. The advisory board is made up of friends of Young Life who have a desire and a passion to help Young Life grow and thrive in Toronto.


The purpose of the Young Life Advisory Board is to partner with the Toronto City Director to help the ministry achieve the next level of development of Young Life in Toronto toward the end goal of long-term sustainability. The board does that by providing spiritual support, relational connections, strategic input, and financial direction and collaboration. The current version of the Advisory Board will serve through June of 2024, at which time we will add to or change the composition of the board to meet the needs of the ministry for the following year.




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