New Ground Youth - Introducing Jeevs

“And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord” Judges 2:10

This verse has brought me to tears multiple times. I know that an emotional filled sentiment isn’t the first thing you want to read – but the realism of a verse calling out the result of a lack of mission and love for the next generation gets me. This is one of the key drivers of my passion for youth work.

My name is Sanjeev Manaktala, but Jeevs is fine! I’m married to my wonderful wife Catherine and we are part of Hope Church Sevenoaks, where I have the absolute privilege and blessed honour of overseeing the youth work. I grew up in Weybridge and was a Newfrontiers baby. I am of Indian descent and the blending of church culture and my Indian heritage meant my parents instilled in me the godly values of mission and family – two things Catherine and I joyfully hold dear in our hearts for our own future family.

Both my parents are inspirational, modelling what it means to intentionally disciple the next generation. Being dragged into helping with the kids work at church when I had only just turned 11 felt like a chore, but little did I know that a small fire would ignite in my heart and increase in passion and ferocity as I grew up. The first time I really read the Judges verse above properly was when I was 20 and my Dad asked me to help lead our church youth group at Newday. I immediately thought “Admin task, no thank you!”, but when I read this verse I cried. Hard. There I was, so caught up in my own plans, my own thoughts, my own ego, that I didn’t have  the right heart to tell the next generation (however close in age I was to them) about the love, joy and grace of Jesus, our Saviour! That moment changed my life and is the reason why 7 years later, the fire is stronger and growing even faster than ever!

Our ministry looks rather different now – especially since Adz and I have taken on the leadership of New Ground Youth. Adz and I first met properly in 2017 when we were both serving in the youth venue at Ashburnham, touching base with each other bit by bit – the classic Christian friendship. In 2019, we started to get to know each other better and I was struck by this guy’s heart! Calm in character, passionate in faith! With Quincey from King’s Church Oxted moving on from heading up the youth venue, Adz and I spent a bit of time talking about what we want to see for the youth in New Ground as whole and it was amazing how our hearts aligned. We want to see the next generation go further than we ever could and pick up the baton of relational mission.

Our vision for leading New Ground Youth is this:

To enable, support and connect with New Ground Youth Leaders, to serve local church mission with passion and joy.

We want to play our part so that we can see new leaders from the next generation rise up to be sent out to impact new communities, plant new churches and reach new nations. How is this going to happen? Just look at the young people in your church. It’s going to happen through them. That’s why I’m passionate about New Ground Youth and the things to come.