For those of us who were alive in 1999, do you remember the buzz of approaching the millennium? The millennium bug? Y2K? The genuine fear, by some, that computers would fail at midnight on 1 January 2000?
Fast forward 24 years and look at the world we live in now. Technology is so entrenched in the day-to-day lives of individuals, but more significantly, it surrounds the children and young people of today.
We’re passionate about creating opportunities for children and young people who don’t go to church to discover who Jesus is for themselves. For us to ignore the digital world's impact and not seek to understand how they engage with one another online is to put our heads in the sand and do a disservice to the next generation.
A lot of research has been undertaken to consider where children and young people show up online and how they use online spaces, but not much depth of research into building community online vs. face-to-face, let alone exploring faith and spirituality in online spaces.
Going where children and young people are but the gospel isn't
That’s why we commissioned SU’s Sarah Davison to undertake a research project to help us learn and understand today's reality. With years of working with children and young people under her belt, Sarah has a passion to making sure that this generation is understood and engaged in a way that makes sense to them. You can read more from Sarah and her passion for hybrid mission by clicking here.
In partnership with Dr Sarah Holmes at Liverpool Hope University, Sarah has been leading a two-stage research project to explore online-hybrid ministry amongst the 95% of children and young people who don't go to church.
Discovering the reality
Sarah shares: “As we know, the virtual and online space is where huge numbers of children and young people are spending their time. Whilst there are always exceptions to the rule, most of the youth and children’s work doesn’t show up in this online space.
Here at SU, we are being intentional about investing both time and money into what a hybrid model of mission could look like. What could it look like to increase the opportunities for children and young people to discover Jesus and grow in faith both online and face-to-face? How could we utilise the best bits of meeting face-to-face and the flexibility, breadth, and scope of the online world by using them in synergy.
The truth is, we don’t really know what this might look like, but we are confident that we must learn, grow, and adapt the way we journey with children and young people to ensure that we are going to where children and young people are, and the gospel isn’t."
This Friday, Sarah Davison and Dr Sarah Holmes will be presenting the Stage 1 findings at the International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry. Stage 1 of the research has been focused on listening to children and young people and getting a glimpse of their reality. Stage 2 seeks to develop a deeper understanding of the data and look at what the future could look like for mission, with findings intended to be released in Spring 2024.
We can't wait to bring you the results of what we've discovered and learnt, along with practical guidance on what this means for you and your church as together we reach the 95.
Want to know more?
If you'd like to be one of the first to receive the findings of this research project, sign up for FREE Mission Support from Scripture Union.
As soon as you sign up, you'll have access to:
> Exclusive training opportunities
> Monthly Mission Sparks – bitesize inspiration for mission
> The Revealing Jesus First Steps Guide
> New resources and content
> Findings from research into mission with the 95
> + much more
Unlock the full potential of your outreach to children and young people today with FREE Mission Support from Scripture Union.