Lifeteams offers the unique opportunity to live under one roof with a community of passionate young adults who share your heart for God – and keep you accountable to “living justly” in everyday life. Living in a community with 10 – 12 others for 8 months gives you the opportunity to practice fully authentic faith that dissolves the separation between theory and life, and challenges you like you’ve never been challenged before. Sometimes personal spirituality is best worked out in the everyday stuff of life. At the end of Lifeteams, you will know why God thinks we need each other if we’re really going to make a difference.
At Lifeteams, we’re not content to have you parachute into ministry and be gone. We want you to walk in the door and experience what it’s like to go back week after week. Students are matched in teams of two with a youth work program in the Greater Vancouver area. Two days a week you will learn about building relationships that matter while working side by side with veteran youth missionaries. Go to Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited’s website to check out some of the places you might find yourself.
RELATIONAL YOUTH WORK
Lifeteams is about finding yourself in the middle of learning and not even knowing “class” has started. Experiences that develop courage, dependence on God and servanthood are followed by group debriefing times where the learning moves beyond the mind and into the spirit. Exposure to everything from the realities of inner city street life to negotiating the dark tunnels of a mountain cave will challenge you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and move from self-reliance to greater reliance on God.
Two days a week are focused on exploring and developing core foundational ideas and practices in the areas of spiritual formation, soul care, interpersonal communication, and skills for youth outreach. College level courses aimed at expanding your outlook, knowledge, and ability are paired with practical, interactive assignments that help put feet on the head knowledge. In the 8 months you will have completed the equivalent of one year of fully transferable Bible College courses.
A lot happens in a week at Lifeteams. Mentorship provides an opportunity to have someone who has walked with God for a lot of years journey alongside you for a while, challenging and supporting you as you process the invitations of Jesus. The program is intentionally small to allow for individual input on many levels and mentorship is an essential part of each week.
God seems to think that what we know has a pretty important role in what we do – and we agree. Lifeteams courses happen in and out of the classroom in a variety of settings. Whether you’re the academic type or not, if you are teachable and open to God shaping every part of you Lifeteams just might be a fit.
Our Certificate in Youth Outreach offers 30 credit hours of practical training, transferable to major Bible Colleges across Canada. That’s about 1 year’s worth of transfer credit (*amount varies based on institution) if you chose to continue on to a degree or use Lifeteams as a specialty year in the middle of your degree. Through 10 courses and a practicum, students are provided with ideas and tools to take on the invitations God offers through the rest of the program. Here’s a snapshot of each course.
COMMUNICATING TRUTH TO YOUTHThe ability to communicate well is essential for youth work. This course will introduce you to communication that is relevant and genuine, and invites youth to realize how God’s story is intersecting with their story. We’ll practice recognizing and creating teachable moments in the everyday “stuff” of life, as well as the skills of intentionally introducing life changing truth by walking through the doors youth are offering to us.
EVANGELISM AND SOUL CAREEvangelism is defined by the dictionary as an earnest effort for the spread of the Gospel. At times it seems that the effectiveness of evangelism has been judged by the amount of effort, rather than the amount of love that motivates the effort. But souls are not meant to be “won”; souls are meant to be loved. This course seeks to introduce students to the heart of God for those who don’t know Him yet, and looks at practical ways of introducing His heart to this generation.
FOUNDATIONS FOR YOUTH OUTREACHThe motivation for youth outreach is established in God’s passion for reaching out to the world through the incarnation of Jesus. In doing so, God showed us the value of “being present” and coming alongside others in the middle of their difficulties. In this course we will follow that model as we explore who young people are and what matters to them, allowing us to step with them into the issues of their lives with compassion and understanding. You will be introduced to the roles and relationships of the different participants and programs in community youth work, as well as the opportunities for involvement in this sphere. We will also explore who we are as youth workers, understanding that often impact comes not through what we know but who we are in the lives of young people.
MINISTRY AND SPIRITUALITYIndividuals involved in ministry are often faced with the challenge of holding onto a false spirituality based on doing for God rather than being. An understanding of our spirituality as something that comes from God, rather than something we make happen by keeping busy, can help us to focus on clearing space for God to work, rather than simply working for God. In this course we will take a look at the way spirituality is lived out by being introduced to the spiritual journeys of a variety of guest presenters who are involved in ministry at different levels. Engaging both discussion and practice, you will have the chance to apply classroom concepts to your personal spiritual walk and ministry. Through days of silence, journaling, spiritual mentoring, and a solo retreat, we create a space for students to experience being with God, and then we leave the results up to him.
PEOPLE HELPING SKILLSIn this course we will work toward learning and using skills for helping others through life’s difficulties and frustrations. Developing listening and supporting skills will not only allow us to be truly helpful to teens, but also to the friends and family around us. The ability to create an environment around people that invites and encourages growth in them, can open up the way for God to move in both their lives and ours.
PROGRAM DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENTThis course is highly experiential and takes the student on a guided practical journey through the conception, implementation and evaluation of creative and effective programs and events for youth. Working in teams and individually, students are given the opportunity to walk through each part of the program design process in a variety of settings, with ongoing feedback, instruction and support. From running mission trips to events to classes and out trips – you will walk away from this course with increased competence and confidence, as well as a greater understanding of the framework and skills necessary for developing and running programs that make a difference for youth.
POVERTY, JUSTICE AND YOUTH ENGAGEMENT"In the desire to be helpful to those deemed “in need”, the Christian community has sometimes been guilty of hurting the very ones they have come to serve. A thoughtful approach to social justice involvement can open the way for engagement based on the recognition that both parties possess needs and assets to bring to the experience, allowing for the goal of mutual transformation. Through this course the students will be invited to explore new ways of thinking and acting justly in everyday life as well as in the presence of material poverty. They will also have the opportunity to form a philosophy of social justice engagement and then pass that philosophy on to teens who are exploring this idea for themselves.
YOUTH ISSUESThe word “vulnerable” means that a youth is in need of special care, support and attention. In this course, we will take a look at a collection of issues that vulnerable youth face - such as homelessness, addictions, anxiety, self harm and mental illness - and find starting places for understanding and responding to each of them. You will be introduced to youth work practitioners, who work with these youth issues in the field, and learn from them. In the end, our hope is that you will walk away with a measure of confidence in approaching youth work in the community and competence in making an impact there as well.
YOUTH WORK PRACTICUMOver the eight month course the student will put in a total of 360 hours at their ministry placement. This opportunity for hands-on learning will allow students to observe and practice youth work skills, under the supervision of veteran youth workers. Each placement will have a ministry mentor that will meet weekly with the student to offer feedback and guidance. There will be a midterm and final evaluation with the student, their ministry mentor and the program director.
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
Are you and Lifeteams a good fit? Here’s what we are looking for in a Lifeteams student:
An intentional relationship with Jesus
We’re not looking for “casual Christians” who are content with less than what God has for them. We want people who are intentionally seeking God – who are making space in their life for God to act and are restless to know Him better. You don’t have to have it all together, but you’ve got to have it in gear.
A passion for stepping into the lives of others
Do people in need break your heart? Do you desire to have your hands follow your heart? Do you have a deep conviction that Jesus can make all the difference in a person’s life?
A love for young people
Youth Unlimited/Youth for Christ is about building relationships with young people because we genuinely like being with them. Lifeteams isn’t simply about ministry – it’s about youth ministry. We’re looking for people who believe that young people can make a difference and are incredibly precious to God.
A desire to learn and grow
We’re looking for people with a teachable spirit who appreciate learning through focused mentorship. The flow of learning tends to happen through instruction, discussion, practice, and feedback – all in the context of community. Our hope is that through the process students will grow in wisdom, not only in knowledge and that this wisdom would be seen in the way they live.
A sense of adventure
Responding to change and opportunity with enjoyment and personal flexibility is important in both a youth worker and a Lifeteams student. It’s not about ability or proficiency – it’s about eagerness to experience whatever is around the corner and trust God who is on the adventure with you.
Commitment to the value of community
Living in community is an intentional part of the Lifeteams program. Students consistently name community as one of the most valuable parts of their personal learning and character development. It’s more than living in the same place; it’s living out genuine faith side by side with people who are different than you.
Age 19 or older
We will consider a mature 18-year-old with previous youth leadership experience on an individual applicant basis. However, most of our students have had at least a year out of high school to experience life and Godliness in a more independent context. Applicants must have a grade 12 diploma unless special permission is granted.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
If this list resonates with you – apply. If you feel a tap, tug, or push to check us out – apply. If you want to have fun, be challenged, go deeper with God, learn useful skill sets, and be part of a growing community of people taking the plunge to live intentionally – apply. If you know someone who is and wants all these things – encourage them to apply.