All News Reporty KAM

Looking Back On The Year 2022

Looking back on 2022

We invite you to take a look back at our ministry this past year as we celebrated the 25th birthday of Josiah Venture Czech, known within the country as KAM (Christian Youth Academy).

In 2022, we worked with 123 of the 206 youth currently registered within the Evangelical Churches in the Czech Republic, in various forms and with varying intensity. KAM’s work has focused primarily on supporting young leaders and youth through personal accompaniment, programs, and various forms of training.

We consider interaction with denominations to be a key element of our ministry, which we have developed both bilaterally and through joint projects over the past year. A Youth Religiousness Survey was conducted in cooperation with KAM, Česká evangelikální aliance, and Strategický nadační fond. At a follow-up meeting with denominational representatives, we discussed what the results imply for the future direction of youth ministry in the Czech Republic. For example, an interesting finding was that 25% of young people expressed an interest in learning more about the Bible. We also got a glimpse into the current thinking of Christian youth through the How Are Czech Youth Doing survey, in which 82 youth from 8 denominations participated. A significant component of our cooperation with the denominations focuses on the areas of Education of leaders and youth.

We are honored to have participated in several denominational and inter-denominational national youth conferences such as UNITED, Kristfest, Encounter, BrodFest, and Impulse. Together, we are preparing for the 2nd annual inter-denominational youth leadership retreat, Frontline 2023.

In response to the current situation and need, there has been an increased interest among youth workers in a specialized training event on crisis intervention, mental health, and pastoral care. In the past year, our team has been able to offer this training over ten times at both the denominational and regional levels.

One of the joint inter-denominational projects completed in 2022 was the development of a website, a signposting of materials for youth workers. An e-learning training for new youth leaders is in the final stages of development and is being developed in collaboration with the denominational youth leadership of the country. The plan is to use it with face-to-face mentoring for new leaders by the country’s denominations or our regional Josiah Venture Czech staff. Besides serving youth leaders, we have also produced an inspirational podcast, Unfinished Business (KAM YouTube), a series of authentic interviews with guests from different denominations who speak openly about their ministry and life.

We are also now offering unique mentoring and training program for youth leaders of worship and their teams. In the past year, two churches – in Prague and Frýdlant n. Ostravicí – have undergone the year-long Worship.ko program, for a total of 5 praise teams. Additionally, we are in contact with others interested in studying the book “Worship Matters” by Bob Kauflin. In the Fall, our Worship.ko team held a weekend training event with over 65 worship leaders in attendance. At this weekend, we also invited the nation’s top worship leaders from the ’90s to symbolically pass the baton of leadership to the next generation. It was a moment not to forget! 

In 2022, we continued our individual care for young leaders, focusing on their personal development as well as the development of the youth in their local churches. We provided this ministry in 99 congregations / churches across the nation and held 355 meetings with 165 people, primarily youth leaders, team members, and church leaders. The development of these youth leaders took place either individually or in M+ groups.

At the beginning of the 2022/23 school year, around 100 young leaders and youth team members took the opportunity to attend inspirational Recharge sessions, with the theme of being “Messengers of Hope.” This event occured in 8 locations across the country with an additional two taking place in early 2023.

During the year, there were 8 Ignite Mission Weeks and an Ignite Festival training event with 200 participants. We were then able to send two teams that had participated in a Czech Ignite event to two locations in southern Norway to assist Norwegian churches with a similar outreach event.

Of the regular outreach programs we offer, nine local churches hosted a Fusion music ministry, and another nine hosted an EDGE Ultimate Frisbee sports ministry. EDGE hosted four ultimate frisbee tournaments and 5 EDGE e-gaming tournaments during the year. Additionally, a partner church in Strakonice pioneered a new experiential outreach ministry, Quest, and a second experiential club will be established in Brno early next year. We also allowed youth to “try-out” the Quest ministry as various special events and special experiential weekends throughout the year.

During the summer, we helped 12 partner churches host an outreach camp with additional support from short-term missions teams and interns from abroad. In addition, seven local youth ministries participated in our Highway Camp, a camp across the outreach ministries of EDGE (sports), Fusion (music), and Quest (experiential games).

In 2022, EXIT Tour was hosted in 7 towns and schools with follow-up programs in local churches, in Bohumín, Frýdlant n.O., Klášterec n.O., Třebíč, Plzeň, Žatec, Ostrava. The EXIT Tour has now also included Spiritual Heritage programs, thanks to which pupils and students at schools can learn about important values of life, about some of Czech’s spiritual fathers such as John Huss or Comenius, and most importantly of all, a special program on the Bible. We are also developing the concept of after-school clubs to help connect the local youth community with students and pupils in the future, either in conjunction with our existing activities in schools or independently of them.

Our “School for Life” ministry program reached nearly 9,000 pupils with prevention and spiritual programs as part of its work with school lecturers. In June 2022, the six winners of the national competition “Changing the World for the Better” were announced in the framework of the Comenius – Stories of Humanity project, in which 25 school classes and groups of young people participated (project summary video). In March, the unique project “To the Hill with Amos” was completed, commemorating the birthday of our Teacher of Nations on 25 hills across the country. At the end of October, a project with Komensky in Pilsen took place with EXIT, which included 40 project days in schools plus another 20 lessons with Komensky.

To support the teachers and lecturers, we held these critical events to help them be carriers of God’s love and truth in the school environment: Daniel Week (30 teachers, 15 from Ukraine), Schools for Life Academy (169 participants in 14 events), Lecturers Conference (45 participants), Restart Weekend (13 teachers).

In response to the war in Ukraine, we became involved in humanitarian aid to Ukrainians in early 2022. Since the beginning of the war we, in partnership with JV Poland (Fala) provided accommodation and assistance at the KAM Conference Centre in Malenovice and the H2O Conference Centre in Kiczyce, Poland for 1,887 refugees (47 buses from Ukraine). Two hundred and sixty tons of supplies, the majority of which was food, were sent to Ukraine on behalf of both organizations.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, our Yellow and Blue Fund was subsequently established to help involve young Ukrainians in local Christian communities and to financially support their participation in summer activities organized by Czech churches. Support from this fund was used by 23 churches/organizations from all over the Czech Republic for 37 summer events, to which 772 young Ukrainians participated..

At the beginning of 2022, the Conference Center in Malenovice was utilized as a transit center during the beginning stages of the war in Ukraine. During this time, over 770 refugees passed through the hotel. We provided them with short-term facilities for their emotional, physical, and spiritual survival needs. Since May, the hotel has returned to its standard mode, providing accommodation for various Christian and secular events. In June, we had an unfortunate incident when the Main Hall and the new glass terrace flooded, limiting the comfort of the summer events. Throughout the summer, remediation and refurbishment of the Main Hall took place, followed by the planned refurbishment of the boiler room. The positive impact of these interventions is new technology, better acoustics, and lighting.

At the end of the summer, a farewell to the long-time director Radek Hlavsa took place, after which Martina Lachová took over the role of hotel manager.

The overall occupancy rate of the Conference Centre in 2022 was over 47%. Looking ahead, we seek wisdom on balancing the skyrocketing admission prices with the necessary cost increases.

I am thankful for all the churches and youth we have worked with this past year. I look forward to what those partnerships will bring in 2023.

Thanks are due to our supporters for standing behind our staff, programs, and projects over the past year. I greatly appreciate your contribution to “equipping young leaders to fulfill Christ’s Commission through the local church.”

All News Reporty KAM

Looking Back On The Year 2021

Looking Back On The Year 2021

As in the previous year, the year 2021 was significantly affected by the Covid pandemic. The long-term lockdown meant a great deal of pressure for leaders and youth teams and often a loss of motivation and perspective. Therefore, the support of youth groups and help with their restart in these Covid times has become a primary focus for the majority of KAM’s activities. This topic was reflected in the personal guidance we provided to the youth leaders as well as our training events. Additionally, the majority of KAM’s programs needed to be constantly adjusted to alternative forms in response to the ever-changing restrictions. Thankfully, many of these programs have been able to return to their previous forms with the release of the restrictions.

At the end of the summer, we organized a retreat for youth leaders in the Krkonoše Mountains: Frontline – for those who serve others. 60 participants from six denominations had the opportunity to draw inspiration for the next school year, build relationships and rejuvenate after a challenging Covid year. Based on very positive feedback from participants, we have agreed to host this event every two years.

Together with the country’s denominations, we entered into two major projects this year. The first surveyed 112 youth groups on the Current State of Czech Youth Groups. We want to repeat this survey every year as it provides valuable insight into the current situation and ever-changing needs and trends of young people. The second project is an online resource and material collaboration to make youth ministry materials readily available to the public.

During Covid, our team for personal support and guidance to young leaders increased to 14 (10 Full-Time Equivalent) staff members. The team is now actively working with 70 youth leaders across the country. To help better prepare them for the new school year, our team engaged 200 youth leaders at 16 Youth Ministry Recharge events that took place at various locations across the Czech Republic.

The pandemic also accelerated the move of KAM Training to social networks and other digital forms to better train young leaders. As part of the COVIDÍŠ project during the spring, we found out through personal online interviews and a social network questionnaire what young people and leaders see and how they feel during the covid period. We subsequently dedicated a series of talk shows on the KAM YouTube channel and an inspiring campaign on the KAM Instagram channel to the most often repeated topics from the survey. These topics included: Fear and Uncertainty, Acts of Love, Prayer, Spontaneity, and Vision.

We have recently created a BASELINE e-learning course – 11 foundational interactive lessons led by leaders from different denominations, which serve as basic training for youth workers. As part of KAM’s internal staff development, we organized the first training day for KAM leadership and the first training day for all KAM employees.

The pandemic situation affected our outreach programs the most. To respond to the changing dynamics, the KAM program teams shifted their capacities to support young leaders, worked on alternative and innovative programs, and participated in the preparation of the summer season. There were 23 camps with various specializations during the summer – English, sports, music, discipleship Ignite camps.

After the summer, we turned to the restart of our outreach programs. We are pleased to say that 10 of the 12 Fusion choirs were able to restart which greatly helped our uniquely designed EuroFusion event that streamed live at the beginning of October. Additionally, 8 of the 9 EDGE Ultimate Frisbee clubs previous groups could restart plus one new EDGE team has started in Havířov.

Our EDGE Sports Ministry also organized two Ultimate Frisbee tournaments with more than 100 players attending each event. While not organizing Ultimate Frisbee tournaments, the EDGE team also hosted ten e-gaming tournaments as an alternative contact ministry during the pandemic lock-downs with an average of 45 players (250 total unique players) at each tournament.

Despite the positive news from our Music and Sports outreach programs, our school ministry programs are still being complicated due to the current state of the pandemic. However, we are rejoicing that amid almost complete lockdowns, the EXIT Tour program could take place in two cities / at 5 schools, where almost 600 students attended preventive lessons and some of them met at afternoon parties with youth in co-organizing churches.

In March 2021, The School for Life ministry completed their Komensky2020 project by announcing the winner of the Project of Transformation competition, which was attended by a total of 34 school classes and groups of young people (video summarizing the project). The theme of Komensky has impacted several other programs conducted in-person at schools and at youth groups, in-person and online. Through the Komensky project, 1,609 students across 41 schools were impacted. Despite the restrictions, we hosted the following events for teachers and lecturers: Recharge (55 participants), Teachers of Hope Anchored in Heaven (175 participants), Online Academy of the School for Life (420 participants), Daniel Weekend (12 participants), Teaching Conference (40 participants). We have also launched a new program in the School Ministry group called the Spiritual Heritage Ministry, which also began the new school year to help local churches build contacts with schools through spiritual and ethical programs.

Last year, ministry previews and testing of the new Quest experiential ministry program took place. This outreach ministry enables teenagers to build relationships with new people based on strong shared experiences (theater, LARP or Live Action Role Playing, psychological activities, storytelling, etc.) followed by a discussion. It can be used to supplement existing youth activities or as a separate contact ministry for the local church.

Additionally, Our Worship.ko innovation project focuses on the practical development of worship leaders and their teams and provides resources for the worship ministry. This year, they hosted several worship cohorts and recently translated the book Worship Matters (Bob Kauflin) as a resource for deeping the impact of Worship in the communities.

We have also used the Covid period to improve our internal systems and tools. We have completed a new KAM website to better communicate with our various target groups. The website now also includes an e-shop with discipleship materials for ministry and KAM merchandise.

At our Malenovice Conference Center, we used the time during lockdown to renovate and upgrade our kitchen and restaurant facilities and converted the outdoor terrace into a beautiful extension of the restaurant seating area. We can’t wait for you to see it!

I am grateful to all of our KAM staff, our donors, youth groups, and churches, who continue to trust us and partner with us in God’s work in our country.

Thank you for the support and financial donations you have made to our staff and projects over the past year and for contributing to the formation of young leaders and healthy youth groups in the Czech churches.

In Christ,