Hull YFC
At Hull YFC we consider the work that we do as generally very simple. We are not renown for delivering cutting edge, 21st century, all singing all dancing programmes for our community to engage with. Yet, we have been blessed to see lives changed, in a tough and hardened community.

In our own history we have seen the ineffectiveness of running events with gospel presentations to groups to whom we are practically strangers, no matter how relevant, fun or engaging they are. Although 'altar calls' after such events may have initially seen many commitments made, we have seen that like the seed that fell on the path (mark 4) they slowly fade away.

Raymond Bakke, says 'I thought of the Vietnam war where we parked our B52´s on Guam, flew at 37,000 feet, bombed the Vietnamese and returned for our nights sleep while we pulled out the ground troops. It didn´t work of course, we lost the war.' (A Theology as Big as the City).

With this understanding over the years we have grown to fully understand that our ability to bring change is significantly less determined by the quality of any event or gospel presentation that we could hold, but by the quality of the relationship that we have with those individuals. We believe that by living alongside people, long-term, we give ourselves the greatest opportunity for these life changing relationships to form. At the core of our approach we are influenced by the way God lived amongst us and was present with us - the incarnation.

2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor so that by his poverty you may become rich″

Jesus is most well known for his birth, his adult ministry and his death and resurrection. The life he lead for 30 years inbetween is often forgotten or deemed irrelevant. At Hull YFC we are inspired by this period of his life. God could have stayed at a safe distance, but instead he chose to become one of his people. He chose to live like they lived, to experience their joys and their suffering, to immerse himself in their culture to the point where he could consider it his own. It was only once this was done that his ministry could take place. The thirty years life experience gave him authority when he spoke, he was able to use their language, use stories that they could relate to and on this foundation reveal God and his revolutionary plans for his kingdom and his people.

We consider this a model to be copied. At Hull YFC we live in the community and endeavour to be active members within it. This helps us avoid labels of 'interfering outsiders' and instead we are considered 'caring neighbours'. Our long-term commitments and our availability mean we are able to be there for people and accompany them along their journeys to experiencing life in all its fullness.

Our community is ranked amongst the most deprived communities in England, it has many needs. Initiatives to turn the tide come and go. Most fail to get past the superficial and our community grows tired and cynical of people doing things to them, without much consultation. We aim to be different. We aim, as one of them, to bring change through them from within. We aim to do this by knowing our neighbour, loving our neighbour and learning with them how to love our community and see it restored.

As an organisation we find the following passage by Henry Nouwen encompasses how we aim to live.
‘More and more, the desire grows in me to simply walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organise people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know without words, handshakes and hugs that you do not simply like them but truly love them´.

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