In the summer of 2006 a group of children and young people were trained to staff a series of events called “Wildfire” in the Midlands town of Nuneaton. Linked with two lively holiday clubs, a new FM radio station ran for forty eight hours. This provided people as young as 12 years of age an opportunity to develop skills which would fan interest and prepare them for future work in the media. Though most had no previous radio experience, they found themselves producing and editing programming, writing jingles and identity spots, operating sophisticated equipment, and even presenting on air!
Those tuned in included participants in the holiday club itself, which was running in a needy area of Nuneaton. Recent immigrants and single parents tuned in together with their children, all enjoying the station that was “exclusively for them.” Local people were interviewed in a programme called. “Nuneaton Voices”. Topics like hardship, marriage, news and other things of interest to the community were discussed between lively music shows. Relationships with local people of all generations were built, in partnership with local churches and agencies.
Although these were completely new experiences for nearly all the children and young people, they enjoyed themselves tremendously and gained a boost to their self –confidence. Formerly quiet youngsters came out of themselves as never before. Some are considering whether God might be calling them to pursue a career in the media.
Throughout the remainder of the year these staff and participants can continue to meet for discipleship, whilst continuing to hone their skills in media, or choose other tracks such as drama, dance, sports, and music. Youth With A Mission’s “King’s Kids International” ministry, which birthed the Wildfire events, has an ethos of “output as well as input”- with service and missions as the out-workings of discipleship. It is hoped that while growing in the Lord and having a great time, these young people can make a difference in Nuneaton’s deprived areas.
Next time that you are annoyed, or even offended, by anti-Christian elements in the media, remember to pray that these and other children would catch the vision to one day change the culture of the media from the inside!
Written by Becky Mehaffey, Director of Overseas Missions, YWAM