Youthwork Learning Communities


“The answer is in the room … Everyone is an expert!”

The Vision

We long to see the church in the UK become increasingly effective in discipling, training and leading young people. Around 85% of Christians give their lives to Christ before the age of 19, so it seems imperative for the church to be investing in, and prioritising reaching the younger generation. Forge Network and Onelife have been involved in Learning Communities over the past few years, and are convinced that they are an important, strategic and innovative way to develop shared learning and growth. Our heart is to help in equipping local churches to become centres of excellence in youth work – something that we will be able to achieve by encouraging the kind of collaboration and learning provoked by the Learning Community model. 


The Dates


January 16th-17th 2015
St Andrews Chorleywood
June 19th-20th 2015
January 22nd-23rd 2016
June 24th-25th 2016



A Learning Community is an environment of training in which thoughts and ideas are provoked through input, discussion and exercises.  Each group involved works on critiquing, developing and planning for their own youth work but in the process of feedback and discussion naturally challenge, equip and encourage others in their own journey. The basic theory is that …“the answer is in the room … Everyone is an expert!”

The Program

The Learning Community will take you and members of your key team through a two-year process in which all aspects of youth work can be considered and developed.  At the end of each community you’ll leave with a set of development plans for you to implement over the following six months.  Additional coaching and support can be made available to you from the Forge and Onelife team to help you in the process of implementing the changes you decide to make. There will also be set reading between each meeting to help fuel discussion and broaden our experience.

Each community will have a theme, but will also include a wide range of other topics and ideas to be considered which will help you discern and unpack what it is that God is calling you and your youth work to.

Community One:         Being a disciple … making disciples

(Youth work with a discipleship culture; deep end discipleship)

Community Two:          Contacting a generation, raising the leaders

(Reading the culture, raising up leaders, both youth and adults)

Community Three:        Empowering Communities of change

(Targets, MSC, Handling miscommunications etc.)

Community Four:         Creating movement

(Cranking the handle, enabling growth, avoiding bottlenecks)


Every community will run through a program using teaching and exercises to help you decide:

What is: Looking at the good, the bad and the ugly of your youth work.

What could be: Taking a risk and daring to believe where God might just take you.

What will be: Making some concrete plans for the next six months that will get you on the way towards the vision God has given you.

Who can be on your team?

Costs are outlined below, and vary according to the number of places you book. At a minimum, each church involved must book three places, with a maximum of seven (any more than that and decisions become harder to define and make). The key decision maker (usually the youth worker) should attend all four meetings, and there should be one other key worker or volunteer who also attends all four of the meetings. This will help consistency in the networking at the Learning Community, as well as aid the flow of decisions made throughout the 18 month course. The rest of the positions are flexible, and different people can join in for each Learning Community. Other members of the team may include volunteers, interns, or young leaders.

An example of a team: As the youth minister of All Saints Church, Bob signed himself up for the Learning Community. He booked five further positions; he asked Jane, a regular volunteer, to be the second regular position. Bob was keen to connect the PCC to the youth work, and invited a different member of the PCC to each of the intensives. He rotated the three remaining positions between his four interns, and on one occasion, decided to bring three of his young leaders instead to help to engage them with the strategy of the developing work.

Cost (for the whole course, payable in two instalments)

3 places           £480

4 places           £590

5 places           £690

6 places           £750

7 places           £800

Accommodation is not included in the price, and teams will be required to arrange their own accommodation for the Learning Community. Lists of local B&Bs/hotels will be available, and a local church hall floor will be made available for those operating on a tight budget! The only other significant cost will be travel expenses.

Interested in booking your church onto the next YLC? email for more info.