June / July 2015 - Vol. 80

Time capsule 20th Anniversary video / Song Boastin' by LeCrae, photos by Melanie Reyes

YouthWorks-Detroit Celebrates 20 Years

by Joshua Rock

Just over twenty years ago, Dave O’Connor and Stan Mathay, both members of the Servants of the Word, moved to Detroit at the promptng of God to teach in the inner city. After a year
of teaching, Dave and Stan were looking for how they could work with their students and other Detroit youth in a more intentional way outsideof the classroom walls.

In 1995, Stan envisioned the idea of college men embracing the call to live household life together in the city of Detroit while working with youth during the summer, and YouthWorks‐
was born.

This year, we are celebrating our 20th anniversary. Over the past twenty years, we have seen God’s faithfulness and transforming love in the lives of Detroit youth, young people from the Sword of the Spirit who come to serve in the city, and in the lives of those of us who have made
Detroit our home. God has touched thousands of lives through this work he began here twenty years ago.

Over 300 young people from the Sword of the Spirit have encountered Jesus here through our Detroit Summer Outreach internship program. Thousands of Detroit youth have heard the good news preached through our retreats with Cornerstone Schools and elsewhere.

We’ve hired nearly 250 youth through our StreetTeam Leadership program. Over 300 Detroit
young people have engaged in academic, art, and leadership based training through Bezalel Project. Many have continued afterwards with our youth group and StreetTeam, and have returned later as Bezalel Project volunteers, Detroit Summer Outreach interns, and even as staff.

Detroit Community Outreach

Most importantly, many of our youth are building long term relationships among us in the Sword of the Spirit and growing as disciples of Jesus. Many Sword of the Spirit youth who are alumni of our programs have caught the vision for a missionary life following Jesus and for our life in community, and have taken up a mantle of leadership among us. Many among our Detroit
youth are attending college, and some are connecting with our university work through Kairos. Some are becoming missionaries through our UCO outreaches in North America and around the world.

We honor our Lord Jesus for his provision for us over these twenty years, and express our deepest gratitude to him and to our brothers and sisters who have supported this work with their prayer, time, friendship, and finances.

[Joshua Rock is the Executive Director of YouthWorks-Detroit. He is married to Yvette and is raising his family of four children in Detroit. He moved to Detroit in 2001 after doing a Detroit Summer Ooutreach (DSO) internship in 2000.]

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