December marks the end of an era as Mission Enabler Steve Hutchinson leaves our staff team after 40 years. He shares some of his best memories – and introduces his colleague Hannah Legge who will be continuing to support Faith Guides and churches in Gloucestershire.
Steve’s mother worked for CSSM, forerunner to Scripture Union, so he spent many childhood summers at beach missions, eventually becoming a group leader at Bude. Then he felt God calling him to work with children and Scripture Union. After completing Bible college, he joined the SU movement in 1981 as an evangelist.
Steve recalls, ‘Apart from a Bible, my tools of the trade were a cassette recorder, a projector and a screen. Back then, churches rarely did outreach themselves; we did it for them. I also led Criccieth mission which meant I only had enough time over to run a couple of holiday clubs in the summer.
So I put some material I’d written into plastic bags – I called it the DIY Holiday Club Kit – and gave them to churches so they could run clubs themselves. Soon after, SU’s publishing department started producing holiday club resources regularly.
Later we started a Great Wood camp for children who wanted to know more about Jesus. Four years on we needed more space so we prayed for a field – God provided one and we started the Lagger camps which are still going strong.’
So, what next?
Fellow Mission Enabler Hannah Legge is all set to broaden her reach and pick up Steve’s contacts when he leaves, enabling the good work to continue in the area. Hannah herself found faith on a camp. ‘I went to church as a child but it was only at 17 on a Christian camp that I truly encountered God’s phenomenal grace and love for myself.
‘I didn’t want other young people to miss out, as I so nearly did. So I committed myself to sharing the good news of Jesus with them, first as a youth worker then as a school chaplain before joining Scripture Union nine years ago.
‘These days, we help churches to do mission themselves because young people need to be rooted in a Christian community, even if they never go to a Sunday service. But many churches struggle to even connect with children and young people not in church. So a key part of my role is to mentor, train and equip church members to be Faith Guides, who will in turn connect and then journey with those young people, enabling them to explore faith, respond and grow.
Taking the long view will help churches to build solid foundations for the future
‘I know that a long-term approach works. Two teenagers recently preached in my church, having been through a leadership academy which I help to run as a volunteer. And a lad from the youth group I led 14 years ago now leads a youth group himself. Taking the long view will help churches to build solid foundations for the future.’
Talking of the future, Steve may be retiring, but he’s not hanging up his hat just yet! We’re delighted that he plans to volunteer, continuing in his passion to share the message of Jesus with even more children and young people. Thank you, Steve, for all your wonderful service and for being an inspiration to so many.
Your support enables the work to continue
Steve says, ‘I’m fortunate to have had the faithful financial support of many wonderful people down the years – thank you all. I know Hannah is going to do a fantastic job, so if you are able, please do invest in her and my other colleagues, as you have so generously invested in me.’
We have Mission Enablers like Steve and Hannah working right across England and Wales. You can support them and enable their vital work to continue.
Your partnership in reaching the 95 really does make a difference! Thank you.
The Revealing Jesus mission framework
Although each child and young person is different, our research and experience show us that most go through the same stages as they become and grow as a Christian: Connect, Explore, Respond and Grow.
The Revealing Jesus mission framework provides shaping principles for each stage, but also offers flexibility in expression as we recognise that contexts, and children and young people themselves, vary hugely.
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