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Preface from John McAuley – President/CEO Muskoka Woods

The ‘What’s Happening’ research project was birthed during a simple lunch between two friends. Over a sandwich, as Don Posterski and I were sharing concerns about youth ministry, several observations and a myriad of suspicions emerged. Very quickly the task became clear: Youth ministry in Canada needed a chance to look in the mirror. We put together a team, including Marv Penner, and a nationwide survey of youth workers was underway. For the first time, the voices of youth workers across Canada had the prospect of being heard through research.

Our hope is that this research will generate further dialogue. There are many facets of youth ministry that need to be celebrated. Practices can be deepened and reinforced. Some issues might need to be re-formatted. Either way, our desire is that this research will inform the present and help shape our shared future.

At a time when it looked as if no one was able to lead Israel, God chose David. Of all the choices that could have been made, God went with a teenager. David’s leadership would change the history of a nation. As youth workers, we rise each day believing that young people can live out God’s heart for the world. That certainly is my belief and my experience.

We believe this project can be a catalyst to spur the growth of all youth organizations. Next year, Muskoka Woods is launching our new Leadership Studio. Our aspiration is to serve young people and many other adults who work with youth. This research will help inform and shape many of the leadership development programs already being planned.

We are eager to hear the thoughts and ideas generated from this project. Our hope and prayer is that ‘What’s Happening’ will generate new levels of ‘what can happen’ in our nation.