My Ministry: How youth in Australia’s capital created ‘Nativ Co’

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Some of the youth involved in “Sundown Sessions”: Jacob Ratcliffe, Madison Nolan, Sarah Maloney, Mariana de Looper and Michael Nolan.

For Adventist youth and young adults in Australia’s capital, having a unified vision has transformed and expanded their approach to ministry, and taught them many lessons along the way.

“Nativ Co” is the product of a collaboration between Canberra National Seventh-day Adventist Church (CN) and South Canberra Seventh-day Adventist Church (SC). Initially envisioned by CN youth leaders, husband and wife duo Michael and Madison Nolan, seven other youth and young adults joined forces from CN and SC to establish the ministry.

“It’s a collaboration, we joined forces. CN was already running a café every Friday night and SC was coming along, so it felt natural,” explained Mr Nolan.

Coming together with a strategic plan, the leadership team developed a vision and purpose statement and outlined their core values. As a result, the ministries run by Nativ Co have been intentionally designed to reflect its name.

“‘Nativ’ means belonging for us,” said Mr Nolan. “We usually associate the word ‘native’ with the original people of a place, or of the land, or the flora or fauna of a region. In God’s eyes we all belong here, and we all belong to Him. So this is a group where we want people to feel at home.”

Youth members Madison Nolan, Geena Elliot and Jesse Thomson Jones.

Drawing all of the existing ministries run by CN and SC churches under one brand empowered and motivated the leadership team. Rebranding their Friday night café to “Nativ Café”, the team also runs a Nativ Fitness group, socials, community service, a Nativ Creativ program, and an annual week-long program entitled “Sundown Sessions”.

“We had a real drive under the South New South Wales (SNSW) youth department’s purpose and vision to equip and empower and give authority to youth to lead and use their own passions and talents so they can step up, get involved and lead,” said Mr Nolan.

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