Scott Sanders closes our Advent series by celebrating the beauty of diversity, and the opportunity for us to draw near to those God's calls us together with in beauty, generosity and justice.
Ryan Clune is the Young Adults Pastor at True North Church in WA. He recently chatted with our Comms Director, Kylie Beach, about an exciting new partnership between World Vision and True North’s young adults. We think it's a beautiful example of the Church extending the beauty, generosity and justice found in Jesus to its local community and beyond that is worth celebrating!
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So you're a Youth Pastor? Can you tell us a bit about what your role entails?
Ryan: Actually, I am a Young Adults Pastor. For me that covers the 18-30yr old bracket of our church. Really I see my role as creating a community for our young adults through connect groups and our program and events that creates a place for connection with others and with God. At an age where people are deciding so much of their future we want to be able to build into them so that they grow into people who follow Christ and make a difference for the kingdom their whole life. Being a young adult is just one stage of their lives but it’s such an important one. It is a privilege to be able to share in that journey with people and see them take the next step God has for them.
We know that you've recently partnered with World Vision in a really exciting way. How did that partnership begin?
Ryan: We felt as a community that engaging with our world and making a difference was important for our Young Adults, so as we were exploring that I connected with World Vision’s Peter Barney to see what we could do that would allow us to make a difference global but also here with our Young Adults and their friends. Out of my conversations with him came the idea of doing the Global 6K Run for water, with the idea being that 6km is the average distance that a child without access to water will travel to go and get it. By running or walking this distance we get to do something good for ourselves as well as be reminded of what others do for the basic right to have water. We raised money to put towards World Vision’s water projects in Timor Leste.
What did the preparation phase entail?
Ryan: The Global 6K Run had not been run here in Australia before so we partnered with World Vision Australia and World Vision USA to get the event happening here. We had to organise a course to run which entailed finding a path in the local community and working with local council to make it happen. Our local council- the City of Joondalup - were a great support to us and allowed us to use an amazing part of the coastline to run. The rest was all the normal event things advertising, registrations etc which our incredible Young Adult team did so well.
So how did it go? Was it a win?
Ryan: The event was great. We had just shy of 200 people participate on the day which we were so happy with for the first run ever. We raised $5800 to go towards clean water in Timor Leste and it was a really fun day.
What were the big picture results of the Global 6k Run?
Ryan: The big picture results were the money that went to helping provide clean water for those who have to walk so far to get it and all the risk that comes with that. Our Young Adults community were able to take the story of Christ caring for the poor to their friends and show that the church is serious about doing something about that, also inviting their friends to be part of it.
What kind of impact did it have on the individuals who took part?
Ryan: I think it impacted people in different ways. Firstly I think it was a challenge for some people to walk or run 6 kms. Physically this was a push for some people to be able to achieve that and it left them with a sense of doing something good for themselves as well as someone else. For others, it taught them what we take for granted in going to the tap and getting a drink is not a reality for everyone. But it should be! So it motivated many people to want to do more. For others, the impact was around inviting their non church friends to come along to something run by a church, to come and be part of our Young Adult community for the day. And for many it was a combination of all of those things!
What was one unexpected outcome of the Global 6k Run for you?
Ryan: I think to be honest I didn’t expect the event to have such a great community fun feel to it. We tried to keep it simple and when you run something for the first time you never really know what will happen, but it just went so flawlessly. In the lead up we learned a lot and will certainly be better for it but on the day it was just a lot of fun and a great community feel.
What changed for you personally?
Ryan: For me personally I think it has encouraged and reminded me that seeing people won for Jesus as well as helping the poor and marginalised can go together. That as we live our lives caring about making a difference in our world without having to fly to another country and fix it all ourselves. We can make a difference both at home and all over the world.
What would you say to other local church leaders who are wanting to make an impact beyond their four walls? How can they get started?
Ryan: I think the best way to get started is to go to an organisation like World Vision and begin to discuss how a partnership can work. Take the culture of your church and local community and partner that with what an organisation like World Vision are doing, and find the fit that works best.
So what's next for you and the young adults crew at True North?
Ryan: We are currently planning the next Global 6K Run for next year. We are looking to see it grow and to make more of an impact on our community, as well as seeing those that struggle to have something as basic as clean water have that barrier taken away through the funds raised through the event. Can’t wait!
Church leaders who would like to explore how World Vision can partner with their church community can contact: email@example.com.