After a few weeks of compiling, editing and formatting ‘Random Thoughts On Youth Work Management‘ is finally a reality.
This is available from the iBooks / iTunes store.
Random Thoughts On Youth Work Management is just that – a set of random blog posts that fits the bid. It is a
This was a brilliant question posed to me in a training session this morning. I’m going to attempt to summarise my answer here.
There are several tiers to an ‘ideal’ youth worker starting with the nonnegotiable and working down to specific specialised skills. All of these should be developing, growing and organic.
We all love diagrams right? Here’s one I made earlier.
There are no ideal youth workers, we all know this, and every youthworker will be different depending on context. However I feel these principles are mostly transferable. They are the basis for what I expect from myself and my teams. They also form the framework of my interview process.
Love For God & Young People
At the top of the pyramid are the most important: a love for God and a love for young people – and a keen flow between these two. If you don’t have these you’re following the wrong trail.
Second we see the key traits of longevity; faithfulness, a commitment to God, people, projects and ministry life; availability, a – within safe boundaries(!) – accessibility to people and projects; and teachability – a proactive willingness to learn and grow that is accountable and open. Full post on this here.
Commitment to …
This tier contains the essential faith-driven lifestyle commitments: An ever growing passion for reading the bible, prayer and worship personally and within community.
Here we see specific skills that will be useful regularly in all kinds of youth work. Listening skills are always valuable, as is the ability to think and problem solve creatively. A growing theological understanding is also important, alongside learning different ways to communicate this understanding. Finally it’s key that every youth leader is trained in best safeguarding practice.
The final tier includes the main areas where a youth leader should think about specialising. Not all of these will be essential to every youth worker.
Relational practice can be developed in many ways, but comes down to forming lasting, impressionable bonds with young people. Activity basis is taking specific gifts, talents and passions that you have and developing them in ministry contexts, for instance sport, music, drama, debate or knitting.
Inclusivity is always important but will rely on your context. This may include working alongside various ages, social and health difficulties, specific cultures or members of the LGBT community. Similar to this is working with those with different learning styles; key if you are doing lots of communication work and schools projects.
Parental support is particularly valuable if you’re doing church-based ministry as family worship is always the end goal. Finally management is vital if you’re overseeing projects and people.
This last tier is always the least important and is always the area that changes most throughout your youth work experience.
How to apply this in team management
These five tiers should form the basis of in house growth and training.
You should have the top two tiers sown solidly into the regular fabric of your projects, ministry and recruitment process.
The third tier is checked up on through community involvement (generally) and through regular individual supervision sessions (specifically). I try to do individual supervision in various ways once every 6 months, and team supervision annually.
The last two tiers should form the basis of group training that you run and attend. The top of these should be three-line-whip sessions for the whole team with regular annual repeats, and training for the last should be made available to those who want it.
Culture and the Bible. These are the two indisputable pillars of effective youthwork. If you don’t get the former you can’t communicate the latter, if you can’t apply the latter you will make no difference to the former.
“There are two fundamental necessities in Christian Communication. One is that we take the world we live in seriously; and the other is that we take God’s revelation to us in the Bible seriously. If either is missing, the communication will be ineffective.” [Christian Youth Work, Mark Ashton & Phil Moon]
There is a youthwork culture in the UK that is really starting to push the envelop, dig deep and get innovative in cultural relevancy. This is absolutely fantastic! I fully embrace and stand by this.
I fear, however, that the Bible is taking more and more of a back seat.
The Famine of God’s Word in Youthwork Culture
I’ve been to almost every major, mainstream Christian youthwork gathering in the UK this year. These were amazing events with great people, and mostly solid, encouraging teaching. Most of all they were a showcase of good ideas to learn from! However they were also symptomatic of a serious famine of the Word of God.
I can count on one hand how many talks I’ve heard at Youthwork gatherings this year that genuinely opened up the Bible.
“Opening up the Bible means swimming around in its depths and drawing us into those hidden truths.”
This spills over to published materials too. Bible reading resources are driving further down the lane of ‘prooftext with reflection’ often without any discernible link between the passage and the attached thoughts.
If we don’t open up the Bible we lose perspective, focus, authority and foundations. What are we playing at?
We Don’t Know How To Open Up The Bible
Let me clarify what I mean by ‘opening up’ the Bible. Just reading a standalone verse and paraphrasing it a few different, interesting ways is not opening up the Bible. Reading a verse, picking a word from it and giving a talk on that word is also not opening up the Bible.
Opening up the Bible means swimming around in its depths and drawing us into those hidden truths. It means exegesis, context, study and clarity. It means bringing a passage to life by using the passage itself!
I’m becoming increasingly concerned that we don’t know how to do this.
My wife, an editor, is currently trying to re-write someones Bible Study that is trying to teach that David defeated Goliath because of his own prodigious experience and skill; not because he trusted in God despite his lack of experience and skill. How could we get a passage so dramatically wrong?
The Bible Makes Our Hearts Burn Within Us
How did Jesus reveal himself to the two followers walking to Emmaus? “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” v.27.
And how did they respond? They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” v.32.
“If you want young people’s hearts to burn within them in response to meeting with Jesus Christ, then you must, must, flippin’ must open up the Bible to them!”
If you want young people’s hearts to burn within them in response to meeting with Jesus Christ, then you must, must, flippin’ must open up the Bible to them! Yes, please be culturally relevant, but if you’re not going to bring God’s Word with you, you’re better off just staying at home!
If you want to communicate God’s heart, use His own words! There’s nothing wrong with the material – we must teach it until it burns within the hearts of this generation.
“However, if we have to err on one side or the other, we must not lose our hold on Christian truth. The simple message of God’s love for sinful humanity and of his forgiveness of our sins for the sake of his son has extraordinary and immense power: our incompetence as communicators is not able to destroy its ability to reach non-Christian young people.” [Christian Youthwork, Ashton & Moon]
Great Resource to Start Doing This…
A Youthworker and a Bible Walk Into A Bar…
I understand that most of the people who you hang out with on any given day are young people. I understand that it’s important to be relevant and accessible. But please be an adult and don’t take your fashion cues from youth culture.
Far be it from me to be the fashion police (I look like my Granddad!) but clothing does speak volumes about culture, and how you dress sends clear signals.
“When you wear skin-tights, low-cuts, short-shorts, slips-with-slits and see-thrus, you’re setting the standard.”
I’ve been at a bunch of youth work conferences this year and I have been continually shocked by some of the things that male and female youth leaders are wearing – and the apparent obliviousness that led them there.
When you wear skin-tights, low-cuts, short-shorts, slips-with-slits and see-thrus, you’re setting the standard and communicating availability. This goes for lads and lasses.
One of my first youth leaders was a 21 year old girl on a gap year. She rocked up one day with a skin tight shirt with a picture of two watermelons and the tagline, ‘hands off my melons.’ I remember her being pretty put out when the Youth Pastor told her that wasn’t appropriate. As a 14 year old though, I was on her side; I remember the ‘shirt’ vividly.
A couple of months back we hired a mission group and one of the lads in the troop wore skinny jeans about a mile below the waistline and a v-neck pajama top that was so low you could almost see belly button. You didn’t know where to look! He was oblivious to every girl in the room that was making eyes at him.
I don’t want to go an a Victorian dress rampage. It’s important to take pride in how you look and enjoy creatively looking your best. Go for it – enjoy it.
Please remember though that you set the standards for what’s appropriate and modest.
If you are older, in a leadership position and confident then you have immediate attraction value to a young person. Wrap that in revealing clothes and you’re just begging for trouble.
Dear Youth Leader: Stop Trying To Be Hot! Be a grown up. Dress like one!
Here endeth another rant.
The youth work world contains a gauntlet of design disasters. Pursuing the average noticeboard takes more Ibuprofen than a serious man flu weekend.
Comic Sans, clipart, multi primary colours and more caps-italics than a Schwarzenegger trailer. This screams cheap, it screams fake and it screams don’t come here!
Substance is always more important than flash, but if you’re connecting with young people through visual PR then this is your first impression. If your first impression is cheesy and slapped together then you won’t get to make a second one. You can have the best substance in the world; terrific content, professional, relational ministry, but if the doorway looks like the gateway to a Teletubbies Convention then no one is coming in.
The good news is that you don’t need any professional skills. All you need is are few basic rules of thumb to create quality designs.
You should strictly stick to 2-5 colours. No more. And they should either harmonise with, or contrast against, the main colours.
The main colours (usually no more than 2) tend to be the background colour and the key feature (text or image) colour.
White Space / Balance / Noise
The most noticeable part of a visual design is what you don’t see. Every element (that’s an image, piece of text, diagram etc.) should have space around it to breathe, and those spaces should be consistent throughout. We call this breathing space ‘white space’ and it is what gives your elements framing, context and proportion.
Balance is exactly that, if you have one corner heavy with text and nothing in the opposite corner, it’s going to unevenly weighted. You can balance with intentional space, or with another similar weighted (size/substance) element.
Noise is what you get when you don’t make use of white space or balance. You don’t know where you rest your eyes so you end up taking nothing in.
The easiest way to kill a good piece of design is layer it up with fonts. There are three rules with fonts:
1. Don’t use more than 2-3, and they should match up somehow.
2. Make sure the font’s a readable and fit the theme/style/audience. Fonts go in and out of fashion. Look around at what current products and magazines are using as these will be recognisable to the people your shooting for.
3. Avoid unnecessarily formatting. Underlining tends to be a no-no 99% of the time. As does bubble text, word shapes and silly shadows.
You should only have the information you really need on a visual. Ideally date, time, venue, basics etc. But you should always, absolutely have a way to find out more. QR codes are wonderful. Generate a free one here. Otherwise Facebook addresses, emails, phone number etc. Any ways to find out more. Keep it clear, keep it simple.
Avoiding Design Disasters in Youthwork PR
Husband and Wife double team, Youth Pastor Andy and YFC Church Resources Manager Laura will be moving us through the journey from detached to disciple – from first contact to Jesus follower. From ‘park bench to life group.’
It’s the last morning of Youthwork, the Conference 2014. The last seminar. People are gathering with a little bit less pace and a little more silent contentment than yesterday. The last day blues are setting in.
However, even through our minds are on the journey home, the luggage stored in the hotel lock up and the slowly increasing weight of our inboxes – there is still a feeling of anticipation and expectancy. This seminar is covering a vital topic.
How do we go from that very first meeting with a young person to a place where we are confident that we will know them in heaven? How do we help young people make these transitions in a healthy and organic way? How do we move young people from detached to disciple?
Andy and Laura will be telling us stories of what has worked in their local church in Halesowen and how they have helped young people be part of their church community.
(Sorry about any dodgy spelling or awkward grammar – this is a live blog!)
A couple of caveats…
Attendance in church is not the endgame. Bums on seats is not the idea. However an increasing membership in the community is a good indicator of healthy youth work.
Andy and Laura want us to know that they’re not claiming what they’re doing is the best model of youthwork. There are many areas where they are praying for a breakthrough. Think strategically at how you can apply these stories to your own local context. Some of these stories and ideas will work, some will not.
Youth workers by nature tend to be incredible at relationship building. Youth leaders need this too; the ability to be there for young people and to invest in their lives. However we should as youth workers also be committed to building relationships with the friends of the young people that we know. This is a great place to start strategically thinking about how to gather more young people on this journey to follow Jesus.
Strategy in youth ministry though is not something that’s talked about very much. At a recent training course, youth leaders we’re asked if they had a clear coherent strategy for their youthwork. 1 in 50 said yes.
Trying to distill a clear strategy from youth projects can be like getting blood from a stone. Youthwork is often chaotic and messy and this is great, but it’s also missing the clear intentionality needed to bring people along on a journey to Jesus and into the church community.
What’s a win?
We know we’re doing a good job if a young person is following Jesus and making disciples of their mates when they are 25 years old. It’s about the long game. Not ‘are they a Christian today?’ but are they being equipped to follow Jesus in the long term?
When we pack for holiday we checklist off all the things we will need to pack. The same is true for youth work. We need to consider what to teach and impart that will equip our young people long term.
For Andy’s youth ministry there are 7 principles that they continually teach – and these will make their way in some form to the new Youth For Christ Resources. Two of these are teaching the young people to make wise decisions, and equipping them to fall more in love with Jesus so that they will tell their mates.
Thinking strategically about the journey
Look at the diagram above. This is a movement of real young people on a journey from outreach, to a followup space to, to intentional discipleship and finally to church community.
It’s not always clear cut, some young people come and go at various stages and some don’t fit in into this at all. However this progression demonstrates how a strategically thought out journey can move young people through to relationship with Jesus.
The basic pattern begins with outreach where they go into young people’s own territory in schools and on the streets. Moving on from this into a large open youth group that’s looked after by committed Christians with the skills needed to mingle and talk about Jesus.
This youth group is like the ground floor of Debenhams. You can spend as long as you want down there but at some point you will want to find the elevator to the next level. That elevator is the Alpha course and the next level is the Life Groups.
Life Groups create an intentional, unapologetic discipleship space. They use accessible language to talk Bible, prayer, spiritual gifts and church. Here they provide a safe environment to prepare young people to be part of the church community.
The final stage of this journey is to belong to the church community. It’s vital that you prepare both the church itself and the young people for this.
To make each transition as easy as possible Andy and Laura use the same team and the same venue. This makes each new group feel safe and familiar. Great idea!
If a wife and husband are miles apart, say the husband in Eastbourne and the wife in London, they only need one form of transport – a car – to see each other. However if the wife moves to Brazil they will need to change vehicles mid journey to see each other.
The same is true for a quality youth work strategy. To help a young person journey through, you will need to change vehicles. You can’t necessarily hope that just schools work or just a youth group will do it. You need to help them through by adapting to their needs.
Your approach trumps your goal. Unless your approach adapts, you won’t reach your goal. You need to constantly make decisions to help reach your goal.
Andy summed up the session like this: Teach your church young people to love Jesus and create spaces that are comfortable enough for them to invite their non-church friends too.
It’s important to think strategically and commit that strategy totally to God.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labour in vain. [Psalm 127:1a]
A few quotable quotes!
There were huge chunks of wisdom given in this seminar and a fair few nuggets of wise one-liners too. Here’s a few:
“The only barrier for young people becoming a Christian should be the cross. We don’t want as church to put any more barriers in the way of meeting with him.”
“Youth work success is not when a young person meets with Jesus. Success is when they make a step on their journey.”
“A win at the youth group is when a young person feels safe and comfortable enough to come back and bring a friend.”
“I want to do everything I can to get young people in front of the cross, in front of Jesus.”
Starting genuine conversations in a youth group can be a nightmare! Keeping them rolling while staying on track doubly so. Small group conversations tend to oscillate between pulling teeth and taming out of control petrol fires.
One of the best ways to engage different personalities and create real dynamic conversation is to use tactile (hands-on) activities. These can also be useful or easily adapted if your group contains young people with additional learning needs.
Here are some easy activities that create conversation on spiritual topics with an element of hands-on fun.
1. Story Cubes.
A brilliant invention that encourages you to make up your own rules. You start by group members choosing a cube and creating a story based off what’s on those cubes. You can get more specific by introducing a particular theme or topic for them to keep to.
This works best when you break into the story to ask the golden questions: who, what, when, where, why and how to get the group to elaborate and clarify the story they are telling.
2. Question Jenga
Find a cheap Jenga set and, using a sharpie, write simple questions on each brick. Take turns to pull out a brick and ask a question to the group.
The questions can be as simple as ‘what’s your favourite colour?’ or as controversial as ‘can gay people go to heaven?’.
3. Collage Clips
Cut out quotes, words, colours, pictures and textures from a bunch of different magazines. Make sure you have lots and lots. Display them by tacking then to the wall or laying them out on the floor or a table.
Set the group the challenge to find a picture each and to explain to the group why they picked that picture.
You could ask them just pick one they like, or one that explains how their day went, or one that best describes who God is to them.
Another option is to use art postcards that you buy from galleries, artcards on specific God and ethics ideas from Youthscape or perspective cards available to buy from Agape.
4. Values Pyramid
Create 10 values on a theme or a topic and have the group rank them from most important at the top of the pyramid to least important on the bottom row. If you have enough people have several sets of this around and brake the group up.
Once you’ve done this ask the golden questions again (who, what, when, where, why, how) to challenge their answers. Compare the different pyramids and give people the opportunity to remove a row and re-rank the remaining.
Once finished you can give them a white piece of paper each and encourage them to add or replace a value with one of their own. Two sets available for free to download below. Just cut them out and if you want, laminate them.
5. Values Washing Line
This effectively works the same way as the values pyramid however instead of moving around a hierarchical triangle you have a washing line stretched across the room with the values pegged to it.
Get a group to rank them most to least important left-to-right and explain why. Keep moving and dropping some off.
Free Download: Relationship Stages Washing Line. Enlarge, Print, Laminate & add Peggs!
6. playing cards
You can use them just like regular playing cards, however each card comes with its own unique discussion question.
These are also easy enough to make your own.
6 Youth Group Tactile Discussion Activities
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it to the full” (Jesus, John 10:10). Youthwork pioneer Mark Yaconelli famously said that youthorkers “are passing on the way to stay alive.”
In the midst of the crazed, gut-wrenching frenzy of youthwork there is a constant, sometimes subversive and sometimes outright battle between the thief and the life bringer. A battle between darkness and light, between death and life. There’s nothing less than life at stake in what we do.
It’s appropriate then that this morning we heard stories from people on the frontline. Youthwork Conference’s opening session today, ‘Youth Work Works’ brought us compassion-driven youth projects from all over the UK. They were, without exception, incredible examples of youthwork passing on the way to stay alive. Check out the live blog for the session here.
I’m particularly encouraged by two values that came up in one way or another in just about every presentation. These make for two great challenges for us to talk about with our teams back home.
1. Meet genuine needs with what God has given you. See what the young people in your area are struggling with, and by working with the resources that God has provided reach to address those specific needs.
The youth work works speakers demonstrated that we don’t need any more flat-packed, cookie cutter youth projects. Instead we need a step out in faith to do something new and innovative and to take risks for the Kingdom where we live.
2. Give more responsibility to young people. Billy Graham fervently believed that the best way to bring a young person to Jesus is through another young person. It’s amazing therefore, to see youth workers inviting young people into the planning, problem solving and practice behind youth projects.
It’s 9:08 in Devonshire 1, and the room is slowly filling up to experience the first seminar of Youthwork, the Conference 2014; “Today’s Discipleship, Tomorrow’s Disciples”. The air conditioning is whirring, the awkward ‘chair-next-door conversations’ have started, and the title, Today’s Discipleship, Tomorrow’s Disciples is stirring interest.
Our speakers, Nathan Iles and Phil Knox, are here holding the torch for British Youth For Christ, so we’re expecting this to be fuelled by a drive and passion to ‘take the good news of Jesus Christ relevantly to every young person in the UK.’
(This is live, sorry about any mistakes!)
An opening question “how good was your breakfast?” with a hearty response breaks the ice and kicks us into gear. This is a fast paced, high energy presentation with masses of important information and deeply applicable challenges – so buckle up!
Ten Unique Challenges of The Millennial Generation
Sociologists have been saying that ‘there’s something different about this generation’, something that creates new categories, reaches for new terms and raises new questions for how we do youthwork today. They go by many names: the millennials, the paradoxical generation, the dot-coms, the emerging adults, the 18s-20s – and they come with unique wordviews which require us to tailor our approach to youthwork accordingly.
So what is unique about this generation and what are some of the ways that we can speak truth to them?
1. They are digital pioneers.
They don’t just go online, they are online. Over half will check their social media as soon as they wake up. They live in the moment and that moment is on the smartphone, the tablet and the laptop.
Paradoxically this hyper-connectivity with a whole net of other digital users also creates a sense of isolation, and often a polarisation between the persona in reality and the persona online.
There needs to be a definite level of incarnational involvement in that world. We need to be God incarnate online, and help our young people be responsible digital pioneers and good citizens of the online world.
2. They are anti-institutional
Once upon a time we trusted politicians, we trusted organisation and we trusted institution. Those days are rapidly wearing thin. There is a pandemic lack of desire to belong to, or be a card-carrying member of any kind of institution.
However, this does not mean that this generation is not deeply spiritual. They are! There is a rejection of organised religion but a widespread searching for a deeper sense of reality.
We need to tackle nominal church going. Phil reminded us that ‘small is beautiful’ and that we need to see a de-emphasis on the Sunday morning service and a greater emphasis on the small group. We further need to give young people a bigger image of what church can be, moving away from consumerist models. “We need a society to contribute to rather than a church to consume.”
3. They are instant consumerists
The motto of this generation is tesco ergo sum, I shop therefore I am. This is the first generation to identify as consumerists, and specifically instant consumerists. We can go from hearing a song on TV to downloading and owning it within thirty seconds. There used to be a day where we browsed video rental shops – now we feel hard done by if we can’t stream a video within seconds.
We can address this by speaking out on generosity and speaking out against consumerism and the desire craze. What kinaesthetic experiences can we give to our young people (like visiting homeless kitchens) to teach them about generosity?
4. They are influenced more by friends than romance or family
Peers have replaced parents. Friends have become the most dependable unit. Even in popular culture, TV shows have moved away from the family unit (The Simpsons) to the friendship circles (Big Bang Theory).
The church, however, can uniquely give people a broader vision of family through all-age community. When young people were asked in a recent study, ‘what do you look for in a youth leader?’ 85% responded with a parent or grandparent figure.
Nathan gave us a great example of a program called ‘sponsor a young person.’ The deal is the young person has to say hello to an older person, and the older person has to commit to pray for that young person and give £1 a month to support them to go on a residential. Brilliant!
5. They have paradox between need for community and increasing isolation
There is a deep desire for individualism and a parallel longing for community. They are the ‘have it your way’ generation but they also have a deep need to be part of something bigger than themselves.
In youth ministry we need to hold these tensions and speak into these paradoxes. We need to speak into individual decision and church community This should be easy for the church! Faith is rooted in individual decision, in light of a whole community.
6. They are a post-christendom generation
Religion is no longer at the centre of public life. Jesus is a swear word and Noah is a myth. In 1985 520,000 18-30s were going to church; in the 20 years since that has more than halved. This generation no longer has the context, the background or the language to engage directly with Christian culture.
Sunday school for many in this generation is a thing of the past. People don’t know the Bible stories now. We need to translate the language and use words that young people understand. We also need to look at a different paradigm for the communication of Gospel, using stories works more often now than using something like the 4 points Gospel. Not least because the lack of prior understanding also means that the stories also now have a real freshness.
7. They are spending more time in adolescence
The average age of Adolescence is extending and now sits somewhere between the ages of 10-27. They are also sometimes called the ‘Peter Pan’ generation because ‘they never grow up.’
There are ways, like being sexually active, where they are growing up faster, however transitioning into full adulthood is getting harder and taking longer.
As church and youthworkers we need to intentionally celebrate the translations into adulthood by intentionally addressing transition issues and by supporting parents more. One of the things Youth For Christ has done is changed the age spectrum in its constitution from 11-18 to 7-25. We should consider running our youth groups older.
8. They have a ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deist’ worldview
The way that emerging adults view God is like Santa Claus or like a cosmic butler. He helps us be happy by bringing us good things and encouraging people to be nice and fair. The ultimate purpose of life is hedonistic – that is to be happy. (Ideal moment to kick in with Pharall Williams.)
Bottom line here: We need to get uncomfortable. Comfort is the enemy of growth. We should as youth workers give our young people a sense of adventure and of mission. It’s not enough to entertain young people and show them a good time. We need to dare young people to do incredible things in their world for Jesus Christ.
9. They are anti-commitment
The average American has 7 jobs in their 20s and one of the most downloaded apps in the UK today is ‘try before you buy dating’ which allows you to hook up with no strings attached. This bleeds into our profession too: the average time a UK church leader spends at a church is 7-10 years, however the average time a youth leader spends at a church is 18 months.
What does commitment to Jesus look like to an anti-commitment generation? We must help young people to chose day in day out for Jesus Christ. The challenge is enabling teenagers to dream again. Helping them think big, aim high and work hard to get there. All the while we must constantly remind ourselves that generationally, things do shift. Things can change.
10. They have a happy midi-narrative – worldview
Happiness is the central goal of life. Period. This isn’t necessarily new, however what might be is how that is achieved. You don’t pursue happiness through metanarrative (the big picture of life), but on a much more modest scale that you can control in your microcosm of your own contacted life. An interesting picture this is our Facebook profiles. A small reality that we can control and protect.
We need to tell the big story though. We need to tell the whole story of God, creation, life, Jesus Christ. We must tell the metanarrate and challenge the microcosms. One of the best ways we can do this is to invite them into it. They too are part of this great story!