Happy New Year!

Martin Saunders looks forward to an amazing 2011...

Happy New Year and welcome back to your office, school, club or [insert workplace here]. Hopefully you had a break over the festive period – not always possible, especially when you work for a church – and you have at least a little bit of enthusiasm and excitement for the year in front of you.

I don’t know if you make resolutions, but I’ve given up (it was my New Year’s resolution). Instead, I like to start the year by setting some aims and objectives – some realistic and achievable, and some of which are no more than dreams without supernatural assistance.

This year I want to be good news for youth workers, and I want the initiatives with which my team is involved to bless, encourage, equip and inspire you. So through the Magazine, the 2011 Youthwork Summit, the podcasts and vodcasts, this website and anything else that we stumble into over the next 12 months, my hope is that we’ll continue to provide tangible support to everyone involved in Christian youth work.

How will we do that? By remembering our place in the church. I think if I’m brutally honest, parachurch organisations and initiatives, some of which I’ve been involved in, have often lost that sense of place, and begun to see themselves as superior in some way to the local church. As if we’re the ones with all the answers; the self-appointed gurus to whom the little people in church should listen.

That’s not our role at all. We’re not the watering can, raining down glorious refreshment from on high; we’re the fertiliser in the soil, mainly unseen, a bit smelly, and working to build up and nourish the grass roots (perhaps as a visceral reminder of that metaphor, I’ll resolve not to wash again until 2012).

So if my realistic aim for 2011 is that we’ll produce some great ‘stuff’ for youth workers, the unrealistic, risky aim that needs the touch of God is that I – and everyone involved in Youthwork – will walk a path of humility and service. And my hunch is that the one drives the other – that an organisation which remembers that it is there to serve and support will be far better placed to create truly resonant, innovative and impactful resources.

That’s my hope for the year ahead. What’s yours? What’s the aim you could hit in your own strength, and the one that you simply couldn’t achieve without divine intervention? Just as I’ve discovered, don’t be surprised if there’s a connection.

Here’s to an amazing 2011, for young people, for youth work, and for the Kingdom of God!

Martin Saunders is the Editor of Youthwork magazine. You can follow Martin now @martinsaunders