After a refreshing sleep, and filling breakfast, the Moveolution team headed to the local church (Cogges) for their morning service. The rain held back, meaning the team had a picnic in the park, and free time to build relationships!
One highlight was a spontaneous team lesson on how to waltz. Sometimes these things can never be planned! During quiet time, we looked at Acts 8, and how incredible things can happen when we are obedient to Gods voice, and take that step of faith- like Philip. This was encouraging to hear for the team, as we are preparing for mission time in the afternoons.
We all got to know the town centre, with a competitive photo scavenger hunt. This included having to get a photo with someone with a moustache, as a team we nailed it!
Each of us made a shield with pictures and words to describe our Family, faith, fun and future. Another helpful tool to deeper conversations within the group. I believe the whole Moveolution team would agree that the evening game time was a definite highlight of the day.
We saw God move in the way we worked well in 4 different teams, each bringing unique personality and levels of competitiveness to the group! It’s amazing to see a team, collectively growing in friendship and support within 24 hours! This is what we expected, and here God has so beautifully shown up. We celebrate that.
One team member said;
“ I have enjoyed the challenge to be prepared to do anything. Even waltzing around with a group of people I’d just met!”
God showed up today in friendship, obedience, and vulnerability. This is only the beginning of a fantastic week ahead.
• To be bold in ministry time starting Monday (afternoons)
• Keep following up and being intentional as a team together
• Rest for those feeling unwell or tired in the group
• Good weather!
Monday 29th July
A glorious Monday, with sunshine and blue skies, and answer to prayer! We kicked off the day with quiet time discussion, on Mark 4. Jesus met with unexpected people, in unexpected places. He connected through the current society and culture of that day.
Therefore, we asked ourselves; “how can we be getting alongside young people, and connect with them in a similar way?” To do this, Carina taught us ways to help friends take the next step towards God. We then got to practice this in ministry time. Identifying where teenagers were at, and getting alongside them.
There were 3 sites, and each fed back positive experiences of games, snacks, and meaningful conversations. It was encouraging to hear that the teenagers were looking forward to seeing the team back in the next few days here.
The team found unexpected joy in moments where they were previously afraid but using the tools they’d learned, they were able to build the relationship and show the incredible love of our Father.
It was important to get a taste of American culture; Joy cooked sloppy Joe’s, and what a meal that was! From having separate conversations with the team, I’ve seen how everyone has been surprised by their own ability and confidence within themselves.
The unexpected boldness to take that step, say hi to that person, to pray for that teenager. It’s more than taking a step, it’s radiating the image of God within us, and using the unique gifts of boldness He offers us daily. As a team, we are looking ahead to life back home.
To be able to use this boldness to help our friends take the next step, and expect the unexpected. One member said;
“ I saw God move in the conversations that I had in moments where I felt my most weak. God provides you and me, exactly what we need. Always”
• Again- Weather!
• That the confidence continues in each person
• For the 3 ministry sites in Witney to attract more young people and shape their lives
The US team arrived safely in the early hours of the morning. In the afternoon, the UK team joined the team, in Witney, and got settled down. After many icebreakers and name games (we have a big team!), the group slowed things down as we moved on to quiet time.
Esme led the team by helping us all feel on the same page and gave us tools on how to read and apply the Bible to our lives. Some of the team have never had this chance before, and so it’s great to begin a habit to take back home after this week. We saw God move when we read Mark 4. We were encouraged to be like a lamp on a stand, and how this light attracts others around us, for example loving the young people we meet in the week.
Ben (Youth Leader) taught us a way of initiating conversations with teenagers, called the ABC’s. This will be a way that the team can grow in building relationships, and loving each-other well. The team shared life and laughter over a delicious meal, shortly followed by a British Culture quiz, and talk on youth culture in the community.
We ended the evening with worship and prayer. The team came back to the idea that we are here for God, and are expectant from Him to move in and through us, as we are a light for Him. The word expectant perhaps is a theme for this week. Expectant for God’s joy to overflow, expectant to hear God in quiet time, and through each other. Expecting to be challenged, and see God move!
•For energy (Particularly the US team!)
• Friendships to grow and develop within the team
• Boldness to take opportunities that arise in mission
• Peace In moments where the team may feel overwhelmed Thank you for all your support. We are expecting great things, and know you are too!
Today, it seems like young people aren’t interested in God. Jon shares his story of how God made himself present in an everyday class.
Immersed in the everyday setting of today’s youth, schools, Jon has been able to lead classes, assemblies and discipleship work.
Currently, it can be quite daunting in schools with heightened pressures not to preach or share too much of faith. However, God is moving in our schools!
Jon shares with us of a moment when he was able to have the opportunity to show God in a local secondary school. Because of one inquisitive pupil, God showed up. Jon shares;
“A few weeks ago, a colleague and I had the opportunity to teach a few classes on Christian identity in a local secondary school, and in our last class of the day God dropped an amazing opportunity right into my lap.
“At the end of the class, we had left 10 or so minutes for a “Grill a Christian” session. The young people could ask us any question in relation to faith that they had, and we would try to answer.
“After fielding a few of the usual suspects, one girl asked a question neither my colleague or I ever expected; “would you pray for us?”
I turned to the teacher in the room watching us, and asked if he was fine with this, expecting a “no”; but he said yes! And so, with the teacher’s permission, I got to pray for 30 young people, in a classroom, in the middle of a school day!
“I left the classroom afterward giddy with excitement about what God had done. It was just such a clear reminder that nothing is out of God’s control; even in spaces where we are told we have to be super careful to not preach or share “too much”, He is alive, He is moving, and He is constantly full of surprises!
“So, I just want to encourage you; God is moving in our schools! ” – Jon Stark
You can watch Jon’s Story with God and Reign Ministries in the video above.
If you are interested in how our young people today are responding to faith and more about their culture, look out for our upcoming blogs on Understanding Gen Z.
Researchers are saying Gen Z is “probably the last and arguably what will be the most influential generation in Western history.” You care about the future of the church, so it’s probably time to familiarize yourself with all things Gen Z.
What Do We Mean By Gen Z?
One will often hear policy makers, marketing experts and church leaders referring to all those who are thirty-something or younger as ‘Millennials.’ While it may be somewhat helpful to lump everyone from this age bracket together, it can also be misleading.
While there are certainly several traits that people born between these years share, common-sense alone tells us there is a big difference between someone who is 35 (who would be classed as an older Millennial) and someone who is 9 (who would be classed as a younger Millennial)!
What are those differences? Research seems to repeatedly point to one substantial reality that differentiates Millennials and those born in more recent years: the smartphone. As we explore in our post titled Gen Z: The Internet in It’s Pocket Generation,growing up with a smartphone has had huge effects on the way young people think, learn, behave, build relationships and believe.
Because of these differences, several experts are now suggesting to break these up into two distinct generations; Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) and Gen Z (born between 1995 and around 2015).
The Last Generation?
At Reign Ministries we certainly have a vested interest in understanding this generation as we seek to care for and influence young people as part of our ministry calling. But youth workers are not the only ones giving Generation Z serious consideration.
Some experts are pointing to the reality that this may be the last generation we speak of and potentially the one that will most shape the future that is to come. Greta Thunberg, a Gen Z girl has just been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her action in fighting Climate Change. In her Ted Talk, she highlights that now is the time to act.
What leads them to make such a conclusion? Two factors stand out. Firstly, Culture is changing so quickly.
“The speed at which culture is changing will make speaking of generations and observing their general characteristics obsolete”
Secondly, Andy Hardy and Dan Yarnell say in their book, Missional Discipleship after Christendom, it will be harder to make distinctions between generations. This is due to advances in technology which allow all age groups to interact and influence each other equally.
Why you need to understand Gen Z
At Reign, we are equipping youth ministers and volunteers to engage with Gen Z. We train leaders serving as youth ministers in the twenty-first century and working as cross-cultural missionaries.
But really, it will take the whole of the church, old, young, and in-between praying, welcoming, and applying the gospel to reach this generation. We are all involved in the missionary task of reaching young people.
One of the most important skills a missionary must possess is the ability to interpret the culture in which he or she works. If we desire to be truly effective Churches who can build relationships with young people, provide pathways for them to explore faith and shape the forms and structures of worship and discipleship, we must be astute students of their culture. This is true even if we come from the same culture as the people we are seeking to reach.
While on Mission in Moldova, Emily brings us a diary account of what the team got up to in the village of Palanca.
Saturday 16th February – Lift Off!
After a smooth flight and safe travel – the Moveolution team have successfully arrived in Chinsinau, Moldova!
On arrival, we were greeted with a warm welcome, and a delicious meal to share. Now settled and ready for some well needed rest, we are thankful for your prayers and support for the team.
Tomorrow we will travel to a nearby village.
Sunday 17th February – OM Mission Centre
We started the morning well, with a filling breakfast at the OM centre – our mission partners in Moldova.
Followed by an inspiring discussion about the week ahead by the OM team; sharing their vision for reaching the lost and sharing the gospel with vibrancy!
Shortly after, we were given a taster experience of what visiting a Moldovan family is like.
Combined with the discussion before, and the real life example, we were able to get a practical understanding under our belts – as home visits will be happening in the village tomorrow.
Quiet time was fantastic as we explored several scriptures and fed back to the team in what God was saying through His word.
We were then kindly given transport (a really funky minibus!) to the Village in which the team will be staying for the week. The minibus stopped outside the church so we went in!
Everyone was welcoming and we introduced ourselves and sang for them. Later that evening, we ate together and got to know the pastor – at a day centre (where the boys will sleep). The girls have a host family they are staying with, 15 minutes from the Day Centre.
Since asking the team their highlights so far, it has been the Moldovan food, hospitality and quiet time where we shared about what God was speaking to us about.
Again, thankyou for your prayers and support. God’s already moving in our hearts.
Monday 18th February
The team gathered together for an early breakfast, quiet time and talk. The focus of the teaching was to trust in God and give thanks in all circumstances. The team felt encouraged to praise God for what He has already done and promised – before the situation! Faith in action!
After that, the team split into 3 groups (along with 3 fantastic translators) where each one would visit a family in the village of Palanca, Moldova. Each house was different, however, we all agreed that Moldovans are extremely hospitable. We were all deeply touched by their need and love for God.
One team in particular were able to guide a family in how to practically follow Jesus, through ways they could understand.
Fuelled by a traditional Moldovan lunch, the team headed to the village church to run the children’s programme, prepared by Fabian, Emily and Sean.
We were delightfully greeted by 40 eager-to-engage children/teenagers from the village. The next two hours were bursting with excitement and energy! The team particularly enjoyed the simple joy of the children singing us songs, playing games and showing God’s love to them. Despite the language barriers at times, the team and children had a blast!
As we thanked God this morning for what He had already done, our trust in God grew and each step unfolded with God’s provision.
On reflection, the team were specifically impacted by the difficult circumstances the families faced in the house visits. Alongside their openness to accepting the hope of Jesus we shared through testimony, scripture and prayer.
Tuesday 19th February
The team came together for another delicious breakfast and joyful conversation. Tom lead the hour quiet time -which we have every morning.
At first, it may have seemed a lot, but has been a divine treasure for truth and talking point amongst the team. It starts the day with God first and our priority, which is a model of life back home. We learnt about God giving us a choice to seek him and that means taking a step of action to walk with God, talking to Him.
Similar to yesterday, the team visited different homes in Palanca, and shared hope and encouragement to families, alongside food parcels. Most importantly we listened, and loved. This is what Jesus would do.
After a very filling lunch (Moldovans are very hospitable!) we began the second children’s program, prepared by Jess, Vicky and Isabel. 65 children came with expectation, and the team have agreed that al in all, it was a great success.
The activities stretched from singing songs, to acting out Daniel and the lions den -to creating their very own lion masks. God showed up as we noticed the children were more open, willing and engaged with the team and each other/
I think the team particularly enjoyed the moment where there was Caleb (a member of our team), comfortably sitting, playing the guitar… in a lion costume.
For dinner we ate a traditional Moldovan dish. It tasted amazing – but catches you out with how full you get! We then had a team debrief where we shared thoughts, and reflections from the whole day.
We sang worship songs, and encouraged one another on where we saw God move in today. It was great to see how the team really worked well together, particularly in the children’s program. Having God as our focus is the best way to be. We know the children are so loved by God and we continue to pray for them.
Wednesday 20th February
This morning, after breakfast, God spoke to the team during quiet time in unique ways.
We had the opportunity to discuss how the scriptures stood out and how we could apply that treasure in today. From this, we were able to intentionally pray for one another in groups, since we had shared openly about what God was saying to us. This is definitely the best way to start the day, and the team are learning to continue this value of spending time in God’s word – for after Moldova!
This time, the tam’s transport to the house visits was not the typical way… horse and cart! A common mode of transport in Moldova. We managed to squash 10 people in the small cart, meaning some were more off than on! What an experience!
As mentioned before, we were again overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality of the Moldovans as we visited the families in the village.
As we shared how God shaped our story, one family in particular became more interested in how the bible was relevant for them, in their needs and circumstances. Refreshing and real, the experiences have been a mixture of challenge, and inspiration.
After lunch, was the children’s programme prepared by Carina, Ben and Caleb. It involved many interactive games, convincing acting from audience participants, and joy from energetic games.
The children learnt through am interactive visual that God is enough for them, and more important than earthly things i.e. money.
All in all, the team were amazing at working together to show love to the children, and give them our time. God showed up here.
Break time involved a group of 4, going into the local school in the village of Palanca, to invite the young people to come Thursday evening for a youth program.
Whilst the rest of the team worked on their talks, testimonies and programs these would later teach. The team then headed down to the church again, for a service completely run by us!
It was incredible to see how everyone brought a unique perspective of God, through song, testimony, talk and encouragement.
The Moldovans were inspired by the thoughts and experiences of the team and were incredibly thankful that we wanted to spend our evening sharing the gospel with them.
We learnt as a team, that we do our best, and then need to leave the rest up to God. He is bigger than us, and it’s not our job to move people’s hearts. It’s out choice to love and share our story. To end a wonderful evening, we arrived home to a hot meal, which then led to a final debrief of what seemed a full day.
From fun transport, to courageous moments of sharing testimony in front of a whole church – the team thank God for walking with us today and the week.
Thursday 21st February
Our last day in Palanca, Moldova. We thank God because it has been the most incredible experience, living in the wonderful village of Palanca.
We ate breakfast together and spent an intentional hour with God, reading scriptures based on forgiveness. The team would agree that this quiet time is a particular highlight of the mission trip.
It’s not often we get a whole hour to intentionally spend time in Gods presence and word- so we really treasured this, and will continue valuing time with God in the everyday at home.
Our smaller teams again spread out in the village for home visits, and were touched by inspiring stories and hard backgrounds from families.
One mother was able to clearly understand how God loved her, with regards to her son. He was 4 months old, and as you can imagine, she “would die for him”. He showed up because this love was only a fraction of the unconditional love that our Father has for his children (us).
When we explained this is similar to the love she had with her newborn son, she saw God in a personal way. It’s moments like these when our team is so encouraged that our God is good and on the move.
This is only one example of where God moved in one of the team’s visits. Our final children’s program of the week involved everyone in the team. We saw how God’s given us each different gifts to build his kingdom, and serve the children according to their needs.
One team member highlighted that since we have been known for the week, now the children were even more open and touched by our deep love for them.
It was touching to have the opportunity to individually pray at the end, for each child who came to the children’s program (roughly 50), and we beleive God is truly working in them.
We believe God has so much love for every one of his children and so this so beautifully reflected His healing heart. We stayed on to prepare a Youth program for this one evening. On reflection, the team were pleased about having specific time with the youth.
This is because, as you can imagine, during the day children’s program, they couldn’t quite relate with the content. However, our team made space to prepare and deliver a while evening for them.
Many of the village teenagers of Palanca came, it was wonderful.
From the beginning, to the end, each teenager was incredibly engaged and accepting, with what we shared. There’s something incredibly powerful about teenagers reaching teenagers. We reflected a generation that was listening to God, and how that impacted our lives was evident in our testimonies and sermons. Not only this, but the Moldovans interacted too.
Despite the language barrier at times, the team enjoyed playing games, singing, and talking with the young people. We spoke truth into their lives, hope into their present.
It was an unforgettable moment to be able to partner with God. The team were so encouraged by how the teenagers listened, and we are so thankful for them. We have watered the seed and the rest is up to God.
When we arrived to the day centre for dinner we were so thankful to be served PIZZA! After a delicious meal, we gave our gifts to the sisters and pastor who cooked and served us during our time in Palanca. Tom shared with us during our evening debrief that leadership is exercising Gods gifts in you and engaging in that.
This is the closest description of what we’ve seen the team develop in. It’s drawing upon the strengths and talents Gods given each of us- and using that in a team for His glory. To make Him famous.
Each day we grew more and more closer with understanding each other. We all brought a different flavor to the team dynamics, and God is lifted up higher because of it. (see 1 Peter 4:10)
22nd and 23rd February
Friday morning the team left the village Palanca. We set off for a 2 hour journey to the capital of Moldova, Chisinau. Since it was our last full day, we ended the week with a spot of tourism!
An hour into our travel to Chisinau, it snowed, and by the time w arrived, everything was covered in white. The team were so excited to step out into the cold snow!
We walked to a souvenir shop, and filled up on a delicious McDonalds! Public transport in the city was an experience. Such as seeing how many people can fit into one small mini bus.
Then, we visited the city’s Orthodox Church. What stood out was how beautiful and detailed the paintings were, all around the walls and ceilings. Each one displaying a significant bible story that anyone could see, no matter what language you spoke. This is how the Bible can be accessible to all.
Next, we travelled to the OM mission centre, the buidling we first stayed at on day 1. Here, we took time to debrief and reflect on the week gone by. The team had quiet time reading scripture, and listening to what God wanted to say to us.
The talk that evening was based around forgiveness, and the power of choice. Tom encouraged us that before we make a decision, consider God. Followed by many captivating stories, the team soaked up all that was shared and related to different areas in the talk.
The team really benefited from this time of reflection, because during the busy week in Palanca, it;s often difficult to stop and think, what does this mean for me? How do I feel about that? etc…. The team encouraged one another for the remainder of the evening, and shortly headed to bed.
The next day, we had one last talk/debrief from the OM team that were a huge part of our mission here in Moldova. They arranged parts of the trip such as the village we stayed at, and the small details in the expeirence.
Altogether we were able to gather our thoughts and reflections in a discussion, which really helped process the whole experience for the team.
Halloween is a time where we want to fill our local communities with the light of God and splice through the darkness with the truth. Here are some ideas to help the youth feel like they aren’t missing out on the fun, get their friends involved and impact the community at Halloween.
1) Light Festival
“Ending the night with fireworks, the Night of 1100 Lights pours light across the town but we focus on showing the love and splendour of God! We want to show that light really does overcome the darkness!” – Jo, Friend of Reign
Lots of churches are doing light and bright parties but why not make it a bit more hip with the youth? Ask the worship team or some of the musical if they can play some live music. Dress up in light, bright and sparkly costumes.
Maybe set a theme such as sparkles, glow, multi colours or maybe superheroes. You could make cosy winter drinks and set up some interactive stations around the church.
Fancy making a church-wide event? See if there is an outdoor space where the community can come along. Set up some games, music and food then fill the space with all the lights! St. Paul’s Weston hosts an amazing event called “1100 Lights”.
The church was built to get involved with the community and meet people where they are even if they are in darkness. Why not open the church up to Trick or Treaters, always giving treats of something yummy with words of encouragement attached to it. Fill the front of the church with fairy lights and lanterns.
Parents will probably be thankful for not having to knock on strangers doors and for non-scary costumes. It also will help the community to see youth are actually quite awesome and not as scary as they may think!
3) Pumpkin Lanterns
Pumpkins are normally scarily decorated but the humble pumpkin is such a yummy seasonal vegetable and makes the most beautiful lanterns when decorated with stars, lots of diamond shapes and crosses. The carvings can glimmer light onto your walls, make pretty outdoor decorations for a nighttime roasted marshmallow fire or show the community the incredible light in Jesus.
Help to reduce waste by mustering up a pumpkin soup with the insides and give it to a charity who help the homeless, or just enjoy it all together. You can make an autumnal evening of it with music, snacks and winter warmers.
4) Tour of Surprises
Do a daytime event on a weekend or during half term with a tour of surprises. Make a tour of the local community and arrange for the youth to receive a surprise activity, item or clue at each stop. They could also give something at each stop.
Choose 4 or 5 places such as a hospital, charity, pier, park with a pre-organised game, ice skating rink.
Harvest is such a magical time in the calendar, with a celebration of our food and giving thanks to others. Make a celebration day or evening with fun events. Ask everyone to bring something for the local FoodBank, you could even ask to help the FoodBank organise their collections. You could do a ready steady cook dinner with teams and find some seasonal fruit, veg and staples to make a yummy dinner and eat all together. You can integrate with some fun autumn games.
Sometimes it can feel like the youth and the church are disconnected from each other. Here are 5 simple ways to help your youth and the church develop a relationship and feel more connected.
Our students, friends and team share some tips and tricks to help the church and youth feel more connected to each other (they may also help to get in more volunteers!)
can not only help grow our faith as it encourages us to be in conversation with
God and seek His help, but it also helps us to think about what we pray.
By encouraging the church or leadership team to pray for specific things within your young people’s lives and praying with the youth for other aspects of the church, helps us to think of eachother and feel more connected.
Because prayer invites testimony, praying for each other helps the church feel connected and invites spiritual and numerical growth to happen.
require us to keep updated in what is going on across all congregations, teams
and individual people within the church but it will also help the youth and
members of the church to have something to talk about.
We believe discipleship and growing youth ministry is all about being relational, that it is more than just a programme.
Youth ministry thrives for relationships helping them with their spiritual adventure. Help the church to see that youth ministry isn’t just a programme but a place to see the youth’s relationship with Jesus grow by being relational and working as a community!
We are near enough born for relationships and connecting with others. Christian author, Stasi Eldredge, says;
Part of discipleship is being overseen by a spiritual parent. One of the best ways to see youth and church members disciple others is by seeing how healthy discipleship works from your example.
Encourage your team to spark conversation with the youth and be real, help show the church the youth are wanting a relationship with God and connection with the community and no one is too old for getting down with the youth!
people in to talk to the youth about their testimony or have a go at serving on
the youth team is a great way to help the youth get to know people in the
church and know who they are.
felt the youth got a bit bored with my voice and having someone fresh to talk
to help inspire them. They may feel like someone else in the church inspires
them with their faith more or their story may resonate.
When someone comes to faith often they feel motivated to serve and help others, sometimes serving helps us to come to faith because we see generosity, love and relationship. The Bible inspires us to serve, and joy can come to us through helping.
Asking the youth to help serve on a team will not only make the teams super grateful but will help the youth to build relationships with people in the church and with God. Working together can be fun, starts a conversation and helps us to feel part of something.
It also helps the youth to see the generosity of the volunteers helping and maybe help them to respect you. Serving on a team can be so life-giving and gives all the feel-good vibes!
Many studies have found having a mentor helps people massively in all aspects of life, especially teenagers. According to research from 2008, having a healthy mentor-style relationship during teenage years helps to reduce the likelihood of substance abuse, promotes better mental health, increases confidence, betters academic performance and improves family relationships. This relationship helps youth to feel listened to, supported and increases personal relationships.
So many of our students are inspired by people in the church who mentored them or invested time into their spiritual journey. This helps to ignite a passion to do the same.
Alex, who is currently studying on the Degree says; “Because people discipled me and invested into my life, I want to do the same for others. I want to be the person who invests into others and helps the to grow in their relationship with God.”
If you feel they are able, it may be good for the youth to mentor someone else. Maybe there is a younger person in the youth who would benefit with a mentor in your youth group.
Finding a Mentor – Ask the church if there is anybody who would like to be a mentor for one of the young people and to sign up in whichever way is easiest for your context. Then you may be able to see people who would suit mentoring a specific young person in the group.
Sam, Friend of Reign
We hope this gave you some inspiration! For more resources, stories and information check out our blog and website.
*With all these suggestions make sure you keep on track with safeguarding and DBS. Speak to a church leader if you need any help with this. Have fun!
For those who don’t have time read: Don’t worry, both of these are so small they could be called ‘booklets.’
My friends and teammates who know me well know that one of the things I enjoy most about the Holidays is the chance to switch-off, slow down and get some much needed ‘head space’ to think about the next twelve months. Some of my most useful and productive thoughts and decisions come out of this time. But it’s not just the extra space that helps me. During this down time, I always read two booklets (if I call them that, you will read them, yes?) that I think you should read too.
The first booklet was given to me by my brother-in-law for Christmas a couple years ago. I remember unwrapping it, looking at the title, saying ‘Thank You’ and then promptly putting it on my shelf where it sat for an entire year! I was sceptical about what the title promised, and certain that it would under-deliver. But don’t do that thing about books and covers like I did. ‘One Word That Will Change your Life’ is actually a great little guide that takes you through a process of hearing from God and prioritising the work He has for you to do in the coming year. The key is refining what God is saying to you in one word, so that you can easily live it out on a daily basis.
In the past I have heard God give me the word “Prepare” attached to a mental picture of fishermen repairing their nets. I knew I needed to prioritise getting mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy if God was going to grow our ministry. I also knew that we needed to put time into developing our systems and resources as a ministry if we wanted to sustain healthy growth. I have also heard the word “Harvest” and took it as encouragement from God that our years of hard work laying a foundation in our ministry was going to start to bear fruit in the lives of our young people, degree students and gap year volunteers.
I’m already anticipating the word God will give me for this new year.
The other must-read booklet is “Born to Multiply” by Dawson Trotman. Although the language of this little sermon transcript may sound out-dated to our 21st century ears, the principles are timeless. At the start of the year, as I look ahead and prioritise my main goals for the coming twelve months, I always have to ask, “Who is going to get my best time?” Dawson Trotman’s voice always recalibrates me and motivates me to follow Jesus’ example to make disciples. No matter what I give my time to, and no matter how successful or how much of a failure it may seem to be by the end of the year, the time I give to the one or two faithful, available and teachable teenagers is the most important work I can do.
So who’s with me this year? Will you read these two books along with me? Let us know your ‘Word’ and let us know you are committed to making disciples this year with us!
This month we welcome six new Year 1 students to the Reign Ministries Family. We are excited about the potential and passion that each student brings. Through our partnership with ForMission College, they are embarking on a three-year degree course studying Missional Theology. They are each placed in a church or youth project during the week, getting those all important chances to apply what they are learning about mission and discipleship. Here are three ways you can pray for our Year 1 students:
Pray that they would be teachable and form healthy relationships with their line mangers and church placement leaders.
Pray that they would be faith-filled and take bold risks in building relationships with young people who need the hope of Christ.
Pray that they would be wise and learn to manage their time between ministry and degree work.
Three months ago we were celebrating Isaac’s graduation from the degree programme. Today we celebrate that he is getting on a plane in London and heading out to Thailand. He’s not going to Thailand for the reasons most 23-year old lads go… Reign Director, Kyle McKinnon shares a bit of Isaac’s story:
Isaac grew up in Colchester and he proudly speaks about his hometown to anyone who will listen. I first met him when He enrolled in the Reign Ministries degree programme in 2011. Over the past 3 years our team has been blessed to come alongside him and see him equipped in mission and discipleship.
The first time I visited Colchester I was able to watch Isaac lead a small discipleship group in his grandparents lounge. That evening I also got to have a meal with his family and hear about his passions. As I drove home from that visit I reflected on how Isaac represented so many other British twenty-year-olds. He had a family that loved him, he enjoyed sport, and he was part of a community that he was proud of.
Over the past 3 years the team at Reign has often heard Isaac carrying on about the merits of Colchester and his local football team. And although we tease him, we are proud that he is so proud, because what we see when we look at Isaac is a normal bloke who loves life and loves people. We can hear his love for people spill out when he talks about his church, his football team or young people he is discipling.
Beyond Colchester, Isaac also has a huge heart for the world. During his placement in Colchester God gave him lots of opportunities to develop relationships with young people and university students from a broad international community. Over his three years of training I saw his heart for people grow and break at the same time. I have seem him tear up over the friendships he made while visiting India, Moldova, Germany, Poland, and Thailand. Each visit overseas expanded his understanding of the world’s deep needs.
So it didn’t surprise me at all when he said that he felt God was calling him to go to Thailand for the next couple years. The need for God to work mightily amongst teenagers in Thailand is huge.
Today we celebrate that God is taking a Colchester lad with a love for God and for people and is using him to help meet that need. And we pray that God will keep raising up Colchester lads like Isaac who will take Jesus to the world.