Exploring Christian Faith and Values
Overview of Year Two
The Exploring Christian Faith and Values focus area supports work that ensures young people are able to make life choices informed by an understanding of Christian faith and values. VFFF funds towards two key outcomes in this area:
- Young people gain knowledge and interest in Christian faith
- Young People have positive, engaging experiences that encourage their participation in Christianity.
The past year of granting in this focus area reflects VFFF’s approach of providing a small number of large, multi-year core operations grants. These grants support organisations that demonstrate:
- Strong demand from young people with sustained high levels of youth participation;
- Strong governance, sound processes and organisational capacity to work at scale; and
- Growth mindsets with a breadth of activities supporting young people’s faith journey.
This year, VFFF met Red Frogs Australia, leading to the development of a new partnership in the Christianity funding space. VFFF also recommitted our support to Anglican Youthworks and saw their work in action during a visit to the Leadership in Training Camp at Port Hacking. This was a wonderful way for VFFF to hear directly from young people and the Ministry Support Team about their approach to supporting faith exploration.
The two grants awarded this year seek to strengthen each organisation’s ability to support young people by funding core and capacity costs. Red Frogs Australia is building its volunteer management and fundraising capacity, whilst Anglican Youthworks is focusing on developing the capacity of their Ministry Support Team to advise youth ministry leaders.
The 2019 VFFF Christianity consultation identified key factors that assist the effective engagement of young people with faith exploration, including:
- Activities that provide young people with responsibility, autonomy and ownership; and
- Activities that meet young people in their world.
VFFF continues to use these principles in identifying organisations to support in this area. Anglican Youthworks is committed to providing young people with opportunities to inform the shape and decisions of the ministry programs they attend and help facilitate junior leaders. Young people become committed and invested in something when they can clearly see where their voice is heard and enacted and when this is genuinely valued by the church. This in turn fosters the sense of identity and belonging in the young person, in the context of the faith community.
Red Frogs Australia meets young people in their world through engaging in a variety of contexts, such as schools, universities and sporting events. Their peer-to-peer approach enables young people to explore faith within their own context and around trusted peer
Anglican Youthworks, $800,000 over three years
Core operations of the Youthworks Ministry Support Team (MST)
Increase the effectiveness of the MST to train, coach and advise local church youth and children’s ministry leaders.
Red Frogs Australia, $650,000 over three years
Core operations of Red Frogs
Core operations support towards fundraising and volunteer management capacity to support further growth.
Building the capacity of the Alpha Youth team to support faith exploration by Australian young people $250,000 (total $830,000)
Highlight: Red Frogs Australia
Red Frogs Australia provides a positive peer presence in environments where young people gather. Founded in 1997, Red Frogs Australia began their work as a small team of 17 volunteers motivated to educate young people on safe partying behaviours and promote alcohol-free and/or diversionary activities that engage young people in these environments. This idea began with volunteers offering red frogs to young people as a conversation starter and connection point for further support. The organisation has grown significantly and today, Red Frogs Australia has 17 staff and around 3,000 volunteers, from 350 churches, across multiple denominations.
Red Frogs Australia work with approximately 1.4 million young Australians through a peer-to-peer approach. Volunteers aged between 18 and 27, provide young people with support and information as individuals who understand their context. Through meeting young people in their world and listening to their priorities in engaging with Christian faith, Red Frogs Australia can give young people the appropriate next steps in their faith journey through their connections with local churches and other faith-based activities.
The Red Frogs Australia mission is delivered through partnering with local churches. This partnership is key to supporting those that Red Frogs Australia connect with, whilst also providing the possibility of a long-term spiritual pathway, if young people choose to explore this. The need to be relevant to current issues and trends in the broader Australian context means the research, development, production and maintenance of online training, information and media is critical for Red Frogs Australia. VFFF funding of $650,000 over three years will enable Red Frogs Australia to upgrade their current volunteer management and training platforms, increase the days of current part-time staff and employ a full-time Fundraiser/Sponsorship Coordinator.
The strong volunteer base and their mission to educate and meet young people in their world makes Red Frogs Australia a well equipped organisation to support young people’s faith exploration.