The Young Christian Workers Movement (YCW) is an international lay organisation of young workers that is run and organised by young workers for young workers. The central focus of the movement is ‘work life.’ Why did the YCW choose ‘work life’ as their principal focus?
Because a good work life can and should offer independence, freedom and promise to young workers. It should be a means for them to participate, contribute and achieve. It should offer identity, a link to society and a means for collective collaborative activity. In a word, our work was destined to be a central influence in our human fulfillment and dignity.
Unfortunately, human work means none of these things to many young workers. Instead, the present-day organisation of work often results in poverty, rejection, oppression, slavery, hunger, boredom and many other evils.
So, what can we do about that? It is not just a material problem – it is also a spiritual problem. People who are downtrodden, rejected and isolated find it difficult to contribute meaningfully and achieve fulfillment.
Through the YCW, many young workers throughout the world enter into an enthusiastic commitment to struggle for freedom, and independence. Believing in their own dignity and worth they fight for a way to live that totally – and to find a way to cooperate with others that they also may achieve this ideal.
In doing this they strive to follow Christ in their world rather than in the world of the church. It is a secular world they live in – a world that they must share with so many others of different faiths and no faith. Their problems are human problems that all share – no matter what faith – and all are called and purposed to have a role in shaping and reshaping them.
Introducing this handbook
The purpose of this handbook is to provide a resource to assist in the work of initiating new YCW groups in the Asia Pacific region of the International YCW (IYCW). Such a book must talk to many persons of various languages religions and work experiences. It must also to YCW leaders of vast experience but little English and to leaders who will meet the YCW for the first time through these pages.
All of these various needs made it difficult to decide on what to write and how to write. What should be included in the plan and how detailed should it be? We have tried to solve these problems by producing two complementary books.
Handbook for Worker Groups is addressed to the young worker who will be forming the new group. It begins with a couple of articles of introduction but is mainly an agenda and program of meetings that initiate the group to the YCW movement.
Handbook for Initiation Teams is addressed principally to the leader who takes the initiative to start a new group. The program suggests that they do not work alone but co-opt a small team to work together. Background reading to better understand the YCW is also included.
It is our hope that those who use these handbooks will do so with moderation and common sense – neither following the program as a strict blueprint, nor changing and modifying it in such a way that it is no longer a YCW program