26 June 2015
Gavin Calver - the Alliance's brand new director of mission
Tell us about your role with YFC…
I served at Youth for Christ for 14 years in total. Initially I co-led the year-out teams alongside my wife Anne, before then directing the church resources department. I spent my last six years at YFC as the national director (CEO). It was such a privilege to be involved and we saw so many young people meet Jesus. I will always be grateful to YFC for all the incredible opportunities I had, and for them believing in me and helping me to grow.
What have you learnt from YFC that you'll bring to the Alliance?
In truth there's loads from my time at YFC that I bring with me to the Alliance. Working with young people you need to be even more innovative and creative than with any other age group in order to engage them. I hope to bring this edge with me and to grow it further in the years ahead. Most importantly though, I carry the heart of an evangelist and I join the Alliance with an utter desperation to see every person in the UK encounter Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. I also bring a high expectation with me of what's possible with the Lord. I've seen so much that is miraculous in and through the ministry of YFC that I now hope and believe for the same at the Alliance.
"I carry the heart of an evangelist and I join the Alliance with an utter desperation to see every person in the UK encounter Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour."
What are your plans for your new role here?
I'm really looking forward to getting my feet under the table and learning from many around me. Often the Church unites around projects and mission, and within my role I want to help the Alliance to be catalytic in enabling the Church to do that. I am for Jesus and I want to be part of a Church primarily defined by what it's for, not what it is against. This means all kinds of lifestyle change, but most importantly means an incredible relationship that defines who we are. I want my role to help point people to this Jesus.
What's it like to follow in the footsteps of your father at the Alliance?
Lots of people have asked that! It's not just my father - my grandfather Gilbert Kirby was also the head of the Alliance in his lifetime. In truth, I have an incredible heritage and I'm proud of that. There's something in my DNA that desires to unite Christians for changing a nation. However, I'm also my own person and flattered though I am by comparison to my dad, I will bring my own flavour to the Alliance.
What inspires the work you do?
I have always been an all-or-nothing person. When I fully surrendered my life to Jesus as an 18-year-old, I committed to go wherever, whenever and into whatever, in order to help others meet Jesus and to try and play my part in changing the world. This God-given drive remains the same today and pushes me forward. I also take great inspiration from many around me who are much wiser and experienced, and I find what they've done and their hunger for more, an inspiration to me on my own journey.
HOBBIES: Spending time with my wife and two young kids. I'm a keen runner, play for a football team and like physical challenges. I've set a World Record for the longest five-aside football match, run a couple of marathons and cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. Who knows what's next?!
TEAM: That's easy - I'm a very passionate AFC Wimbledon fan
FAVOURITE BAND: I'm stuck in a '90s Britpop time warp so I am delighted that my favourite band of my youth Blur are back on the scene with a new album.
BEST ADVICE?: The late prophet Alex Buchanan, told me as a 14-year-old who was struggling with faith to pursue Jesus with all that I had and never go against his will for my life – regardless of what other people thought about it.