We are delighted to announce that John Wheatley has been appointed as Frontier Youth Trust Movement Leader!

As you may well have read, here or in FYT News, we have recently been re-exploring Frontier Youth Trust’s calling and developing a new team structure. With input from across the Frontier Youth Trust community, we identified three distinct roles, which together will lead and facilitate us as a pioneering movement. As Movement Leader, John’s main focus will be on building the home we seek to offer.

John first joined our staff team seven years ago, so many of you will know of his work or know him personally. For those of you who don’t, he introduces himself below.

John starts his new role today! Please join us in praying for him and his family – wife Cathy and daughters Sam and Hannah – as he begins to lead Frontier Youth Trust through it’s next phase.

Alongside John, we will be appointing 2 other members of the leadership team. One will be a Movement Enabler – a coach and agitator who will curate learning spaces. The other will be the Movement Advocate – a champion to work on behalf of the movement, speaking out about the issues and themes that we are facing, finding ways to showcase and celebrate what is happening on the margins and facilitating prophetic challenge. Please hold us in your prayers as we seek to discern who God is calling to those roles.

John introduces himself

I first encountered Frontier Youth Trust through Richard Passmore at Bristol CYM. At the time I was working for a church, running a traditional Sunday school operation – and wrestling with the purpose of Christian youth work. Frontier Youth Trust gave me the language to name my discomfort and helped me identify another way of working with young people. So in 2010, a youth work graduate in my early 20’s, I moved with a friend to a council estate in Weston-super-Mare. It’s a long story – but essentially we built a youth project from the ground up. Frontier Youth Trust provided us the home and encouragement to take this risk, so we joined the embryonic StreetSpace Network. For me, this was a place of safety, and of adventure. In this network we found fellow travellers who spoke the same language and who were wrestling with the same theological questions. Frontier Youth Trust gave us practical resource. And here I belonged. A year later Richard asked me to apply for the role of StreetSpace Network and Research Activist 2-days a week, and I joined the team.

My life and vocation has a rhythm of local and national. In the shadows of our estate, Cathy and I run a detached youth project, growing church with young people. We work from the house, meet young people in the parks, and run groups and projects as they emerge. This local work is deeply enriched by our interconnectedness with the Frontier Youth Trust family and it is fundamentally from this place that I feel able to resource others: to share our experience, enable reflective practice, do theological thinking, speak out on behalf of the sector. My Frontier Youth Trust work is all built on the foundation of being a practitioner-in-context.

Frontier Youth Trust is my home. I believe we are a way-marker calling to the margins, and a place of safety for those on the road. It is an idea and movement that the Church cannot afford to lose. We are a movement of people who are united by their passion to engage in God’s mission to young people on the margins and committed to supporting one another in that calling. I care deeply for this diverse group of people, and I truly believe that they are the foundation of Frontier Youth Trust’s next chapter.

I’m really proud of where Frontier Youth Trust has come over the last few years – and I’m  excited for the next bit of the adventure. Together, we are going to continue to build a better world for young people.