Ever since the launch of The 95 Campaign, your support has helped us to encourage and resource churches to share the good news with the 95% of children not in church. Now, thanks to your ongoing prayers and gifts, we are delighted to unveil our new Revealing Jesus mission framework – bringing together all we have learnt over the last few years. We hope and pray that this new framework will provide real support to churches seeking to walk alongside the 95 on a lifelong journey of faith.
Ninety-five per cent of a whole generation is a lot of people (it equates to around 12 million children and young people in England and Wales alone!). But there is hope. While the 95 might not be going to church, research shows that they are interested in exploring the spiritual side of life. Many have questions about suffering, death, life and more. They pray (especially when things are tough) and lots of them do believe there’s a God out there somewhere.
And this all provides us, the church, with a wonderful opportunity. The opportunity to demonstrate to these young lives that the Christian faith has relevant answers to their questions – and to begin to build authentic relationships with these children and young people that will help them discover and grow in faith.
The Revealing Jesus framework seeks to help churches embrace this opportunity – it’s designed to help churches connect with the 95 and to be there for the long run, ensuring that children and young people have someone to walk alongside them on their whole faith journey. And at its heart is the desire to help the 95 to grow in their faith and express it in culturally relevant ways, once they’ve chosen to follow Jesus.
"Revealing Jesus is about helping churches to be there for the long run"
Revealing Jesus is not a programme or just another set of resources; it’s a framework for churches to shape and structure an intentional, lifelong faith journey with the 95.
There are three main strands to the framework – the faith journey, Faith Guides and Grow Communities.
We’re not expecting the 95 to navigate this faith journey on their own, though, and that’s where Faith Guides come in. Our research identified the importance of consistent, positive role models in the lives of children and young people (think back on your own faith story and we’re sure you’ll be able to name the older Christians who were an important part of that), and that’s why we’re looking to mobilise a network of passionate volunteer Faith Guides – commissioned by their church and supported by Scripture Union – who will dedicate themselves to journeying with children and young people from the 95 from the Connect stage, right through to Grow.
Faith Guides won’t need to be trained children’s or youth workers, although they might be. They’ll just need to be mission-minded and with a heart to take on that much-needed role.
Supporting Faith Guides
Faith Guides will have exclusive access to the online Faith Guide Hub, with specially selected digital and physical resources to help them develop in their roles and to create the best ‘journey’ for the 95. And Faith Guides will also benefit from practical support and training from their local SU Mission Enabler, including face-to-face and online discussion, prayer and advice.
For many of Generation Z, traditional church just doesn’t work. But we’ve seen lots of evidence that children and young people thrive in relevant and culturally appropriate worshipping communities that are designed around them, their needs and their interests. Our hope is that Faith Guides, and the churches that commission them, will work towards developing Grow Communities, where those they’ve been journeying with will have the opportunity to meet regularly with their peers to worship and grow together.
Grow Communities will be peer-shaped, peer-served and adult-guided, with the children and young people setting the agenda along with their Faith Guides. And each and every Grow Community will look and feel very different because they’ll be built with the children or young people they’re serving. But whatever shape they take, we envisage them to be wholeheartedly centred on discipleship, ownership and relationship, with each other and with Jesus.
It’s our prayer that through this framework, we’ll see a generation of young people connecting with Christians in their community, and exploring what the Bible and the Christian faith has to offer. We pray, too, that it will help many of them to respond to Jesus and grow in faith. It’s a familiar, Scripture Union commitment to the life-changing power of the gospel for children and young people, and a brand-new approach to sharing our faith in today’s cultural context.
We’re praying that God will raise up Faith Guides in churches across England and Wales who will commit to revealing the consistent, unchanging love of Jesus to the 95 because we know that in an ever-changing world, he remains the same yesterday, today and forever.
The four stages of the faith journey
Connect An opportunity for the Faith Guide to build relationship with the 95 and to start to introduce the Christian faith. A chance to meet the 95 with activities of common interest, to engage with their world in a relevant and reliable way.
Explore As the relationship forms between the Faith Guide and the 95, and they begin to show more interest in the Christian faith, this stage is about offering opportunities to learn more together through engaging with the Bible.
Respond As the children and young people explore, it’s our hope and prayer that they will choose to respond positively to Jesus. This stage offers clear, tangible opportunities for children and young people to respond personally to what they are learning.
Grow Once the 95 have responded, or while they are seriously considering it, they need time and space, within a supportive Christian community, to grow in their faith and to express it in worship. And that’s why we’re introducing Grow Communities.
As a Faith Guide
If you’re reading this and thinking ‘I want to do that!’, then we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch and we’ll connect you with your local SU team.
As a church
We’d love to see a Faith Guide (or five, or six) in every church across England and Wales, including yours! Contact us and we’ll help you work out how to make this a reality.
By receiving Connecting You, you’re already part of an amazing group of people who support the ministry in prayer. Thank you! Please do continue to pray for the 95, for churches and Faith Guides and for the SU team.
Supporting this work financially will mean we’re able to recruit and train even more Faith Guides, create more resources and introduce even more of the 95 to this life-changing journey.
You can do all these things and more at su.org.uk/revealingjesus
Read more Connecting You stories
This story featured in the Winter 2020 edition of our supporter magazine, Connecting You. You can read more Connecting You stories here.
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