What does being a Christian charity mean to us?
You've said you're a Christian organisation. What does that mean?
We believe that God is concerned for wholeness, in both individual and corporate life. Throughout Jesus’ life, he role-modelled and taught about human worth and dignity; compassion and generosity; community and mutual responsibility. As people who seek to follow Jesus, we therefore seek to work for the common good. Our understanding of ‘the common good’ is shaped by the Hebrew concept of shalom. You can read more about this below.
Do you only work with Christians? What if I am from a different faith? Or no faith?
While we are faith-based, we are not faith-biased. We work with all young people, irrespective of their personal stance on issues of faith, religion or spirituality. We partner with a wide range of organisations and services, from the private, voluntary and public sectors. Our criteria for partnership is values-based: we are open to working with all who are concerned and working for the common good.
Are all of your staff Christians?
No. We have a Genuine Occupational Requirement that our senior staff are Christians, but we also have both employees and volunteers who would not describe themselves as Christians. Some are of other faiths, others do not regard themselves as people of faith. Those who are Christians are from a range of backgrounds, cultures and traditions. Worth Unlimited recognises that the nature of faith is dynamic and on-going, and that God is to be found in many surprising places.
How does being Christian shape the way you work with young people? Do you evangelise, pray with them etc.?
Worth Unlimited is not an evangelistic organisation. We are professional people doing professional youth work.
Youth Work is a process of social education which supports young people to develop a critical awareness of the world around them; analyse and evaluate what they see and experience; discover their values, aspirations and ideals and figure out how to contribute to shaping society. This process includes encouraging young people to examine their own beliefs and perspectives as well as exploring others’ world views.
We work to build significant, trusting, healthy relationships with young people, which help them to see their own worth, and run fun and creative activities, which enable them to develop confidence and help them to discover their passions, abilities and identity. Enabling them to discover their unique contribution to the world is a powerful agent of change.
Within the context of these relationships, workers will answer questions from young people about their own beliefs and may share their personal views in discussions. Young people may be invited to participate in wider community activities (e.g. inter-generational social action projects), which may involve community members from local churches. Where workers are providing significant pastoral care, or are in a mentoring relationship with a young person, part of their regular supervision meetings will include discussion about appropriate personal/professional boundaries.
For more information, read our blog posts on our approach to youth work.
What's your stance on sexuality and gender diversity?
Worth Unlimited was founded as a Christian youth work response to marginalisation and exclusion of all kinds, both in faith communities and wider society. We are wholeheartedly committed to equality and inclusion; being a safe, welcoming and affirming community and celebrating diversity. We are committed to anti-oppressive practice and are proactive in supporting and safeguarding young people who are at risk as a result of prejudice and discrimination on the basis of their sexuality and/or gender identity. You can read our Inclusion Statement here.
What is 'shalom'?
At its simple best, the notion of shalom is a picture of the world as it should be - a world characterised by harmony, community, welfare, wholeness and prosperity.
At Worth Unlimited, we think a shalom experience for young people and communities involves 3 things: well-being, justice and integrity. Our aspiration for those we work with - and all people - is that they will:
- develop a deep sense of personal fulfilment, security and dignity
- experience a restoration of 'right relationships' - with God, community and family
- develop the ability to develop a meaningful and self-sufficient life
- grow in self-esteem, character and spiritual qualities
- make a positive contribution to the shalom of the world around them
Shalom is fundamentally about hope and reconciliation. People on the margins of society often have a poverty of hope and much despair. The shalom vision is an inspiration that things can be different and a source of energy for us, the Worth Unlimited team, as we work to make it a reality.