Raise a Glass
Written by Pete Wynter and Liz Bewley
Last year our team gathered for a Strategy day and I posed an important question. ‘How can we raise a glass on our 10th anniversary knowing that we’ve done all we can to establish Onelife for decades to come?’. The countdown is on as we approach November 2018. The impact of that question has produced a range of answers in recent months. A re-brand, multiple resources, a new website, strengthened relationships, the beginnings of a fundraising social enterprise and developed team and roles.
One of the biggest, and maybe the most important change is related to succession. Progress beyond its founder is one of the greatest challenges for any charitable start up. I’m more passionate about what God has called us to do than ever before, convinced by the deeply encouraging stories of connecting and equipping emerging leaders all over the UK. But, I’ve also known that I would become the bottle neck to Onelife’s significant growth, as my time at Onelife is limited whilst I continue to serve as a church leader at HTB and Director of the Leadership College London.
Over the past ten months we’ve been praying about and planning succession at Onelife. I’m delighted to announce that through this process we have confidently appointed Liz Bewley as the new Director of Onelife. I will become a Trustee for the charity from here on in.
Many of you will know Liz, she has been on the Onelife staff and leadership team for almost four years, with over a decade of experience in youth ministry before she joined our team. We’re excited by her skill and character as a leader, and especially by the sense of calling that Liz has felt to her new role at Onelife. I’ll let her tell you more..., and will look forward to raising a glass with you all in November 2018!
I had been a Youth Pastor for ten years when I first met Onelife. Pete was like a voice in the crowd saying 'come on Liz, you’re doing it!' and the rest of the team greeted me like family and treated me like royalty. From that moment I was hooked! I drove a mini bus to the Onelife conference heavily pregnant so the young people could be exposed to the unique ingredient that Onelife offered them. I attended a youth worker learning community, had the team come and deliver training in my church and planned my year around their events. The team offered real friendship and created environments for me to connect with others on the journey. The conference held an incredible commitment to character development, practical leadership tools, in depth biblical teaching, all embedded in an expectancy for the Holy spirit to move.
All the things I loved about Onelife as a youth pastor, I find even more exciting now as I step into the role of Director. That same conference that impacted me and my youth group all those years ago is back in the new location at HTB, and over the next three years I would love to see both our England and Scotland conference double - simply so more people can experience what we experienced!
Having spent a year developing our resources we have now released our Onelife Sessions and are already training church's all over the UK to equip young people in character development, leadership skills and deep end discipleship. We dream of every city across the UK with church's engaging young people to know who God has called them to be, lead from that place, and reach for the potential before them. Can you imagine what a difference that will make to our schools, our Universities, our hospitals and businesses? For the Bewley family - and the rest of the Onelife team, one of the highlight's of our year is the School of Leadership. The community, the depth, the fun, the practical tools, the leadership investment, the encounters with God leave me speechless year after year. Our week long residential has doubled in size and our plan is to begin to scale the SOL so we can have more opportunity for 17-22's to take their relationship with God and their leadership development on further.
In all of these things it’s the people that are the real hero's of Onelife. The 16 year old boy choosing to serve and love their mates for little thanks, the 18 year old girl applying her understanding of Love Languages in order to connect with her parents better. The 19 year old with a burden for justice, launching their own charity, or the 22 year old applying the tools of soft skills in the office to combat gossip. Everything we will do in the coming years at Onelife is to equip, connect and serve them, to see society changed. It's an honor to step into the role of Director and lead Onelife forwards towards this and our 10th anniversary next year. I hope you'll raise a glass with us.