August/September 2016 - Vol. 87

Jamie Treadwell leading a
                  Youth Event 
Serving Young People Around the World
a report by Servants of the Word brothers

The Servants of the Word is an international ecumenical brotherhood of men living single for the Lord. This coming September will mark their 45th anniversary as a missionary brotherhood in the Sword of the Spirit. They serve in several locations around the world - including the Philippines, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, Lebanon, Mexico, Costa Rica, and North America. From its beginnings, the Servants of the Word have dedicated themselves to "evangelize and disciple young people" to help them grow in Christian maturity and fruitful service and mission.

The following articles from the recent Servants of the Word Newsletter highlight two particular areas of mission - Youth Link in London and Youth Initiatives in Northern Ireland. If you would like to subscribe to their free Newsletter, signup online here.

An Expression of Our Mission to Young People
by Ken Noecker, presiding elder of Servants of the Word

According to a 2012 U.S. Census, there were 41,844,000 young people age 10-19 in the United States – 14% of the population. In other countries where we work, the statistics are even higher for similar young age groups: in Mexico, 45% of its population is younger than 25 and for the Philippines this number is 53%.

If you look at the Servants of the Word across the world you would see that the greatest part of our mission efforts is expended among young people. We believe that the young people of our world hold the great potential for good but are also in grave danger of not actually moving into adult maturity where they can make a positive difference in their families, neighborhoods and countries.

One of our key objectives as a brotherhood, therefore, is to work with young people. In our brotherhood ideal, our mission statement if you will, says, “With great hope and confidence in the God who called us, and recognizing the challenges of our times, we aim to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and foster spiritual maturity, especially among young people”. We feel that work among young people is one of the primary contributions we can make to the church. We therefore desire (quoting again from our ideal) “to evangelize and disciple young people and to bring those who are called into a full integration with our life and mission.”

In this edition of our newsletter you will read about two important expressions of our mission among youth—Youth Initiatives in Northern Ireland and Youth:link in London.

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus turns to his disciples and says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Please join with us in praying for effectiveness in this wonderful work the Lord has called us to. Pray as well that other more laborers will be called into the harvest!

                                                          NoeckerKen Noecker is a lifelong committed brother in The Servants of the Word, currently serving as the Presiding Elder. He spent 25 years (1986 to 2011) as a member of the Asian Region of The Servants of the Word based in Manila, Philippines. Ken was born and raised in Nebraska. He completed his university studies in Minnesota and his graduate studies in the Philippines. In addition to his role in The Servants of the Word, Ken is also involved extensively in community building efforts in Asia as a missionary coordinator of The Sword of the Spirit.

Servants of the Word with young
                                  men in London
Andy Pettman (front center) with young men in Antioch Community
Helping Teenagers Grow in Personal Faith

by Martin Steinbereithner

As long as most of us in Servants of the Word remember, Andy Pettman has been involved in youth work: in his church, during his Gap year in Honduras many years ago, and in Antioch - his local Sword of the Spirit community in London, England. Two things have always motivated him: sharing the good news with those who have not come to personal faith yet, and helping those who believe make that faith real by reaching out to their friends. He had also seen how especially some “community kids,” young people who have grown up in intentional community, can find it hard to step up and get excited about their faith: some suppose they have seen it all their life and at times have learned to walk the path of least resistance.

In 1998 Andy started a meeting for the oldest youth of two Anglican Sunday school groups in West London. The group grew and started to incorporate teenagers from Antioch, the local Sword of the Spirit community, and today anywhere from 40 to 60 youth meet every other Friday for a time of worship, spiritual input and fun together. The mixture of church youth, community kids, and their friends of has been deeply dynamic, each group bringing their own strengths and calling each other on. Youth:link, as it is now called, has also added another event for the off-weeks – for the younger and newer participants.

Jamie Treadwell
                          leads a Youth Link group
Jamie Treadwell leads a Youth Link session

Andy passed on the leadership a number of years ago, but he is still closely involved in supervising the work. Over the years many of the younger Servants of the Word in the London household have been serving on Youth:link’s staff. “Their life as brothers is different and radical enough that it calls the youth on to live more wholeheartedly as disciples,” Andy says. In turn serving with teenagers often provides a more visible impact than university mission. “It is very rewarding to pass on skills to an age group which is very eager to learn and constantly asking for input.”

Youth Link group

Of course the service is not without its challenges: London is a busy place and many of the youth live full lives. Some spend two hours a day commuting to and from school, and most of them are involved in extra-curricular activities, so time is at a premium. Most of the staff are volunteers, so they also juggle many different responsibilities, and sometimes it is not easy to accommodate the various expectations of parents. But on the whole it is not hard to recruit staff for Youth:link.

See Next > The Youth Initiatives Story in Northern Ireland, by Jamie Treadwell and Doug Smith


Dr. Martin Steinbereithner is a lifelong brother
of the Servants of the Word. He is the director of Communications and Development for the Servants of the Word. Previously he worked for twenty years in campus ministry in North America, Lebanon and England and for over the last ten years with Christian communities in the Middle East, Poland, Russia, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France, the UK and Africa.

The Servants of the Word Newsletter is issued three times a year. If you would like to subscribe to the free Newsletter, signup online here.

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