Archives For Degree

Carina is in her first year of the degree programme working towards a BA in Theology and Mission. Her placement is split between the GreenHouse Gap Year programme and St. Mary’s Cogges church in Witney. How is God equipping her to have gospel conversations?

“Marie (name changed) and I went to school together in Austria and have been friends for a long time. Marie is a very openminded and curious person and I have intentionally taken opportunities to share my faith with her. A couple of months ago I was reading one of my favourite Christian books, and as I was reading it, I kept thinking about Marie. I felt God nudge me to send her the book. So I did.

“A few weeks later she sent me a message. She had read the book, and it inspired her to pick up her Bible and read it. Her message said: “I have questions. Can we talk about it?”.

“I was really excited but also nervous before our talk. I knew this could be a turning point in Marie’s faith journey. Marie told me that she had started reading the Bible from the beginning and as she made her way through Genesis there was one big thing she did not understand: Why is a loving God judging and punishing people?

“I was so glad she asked, because this question gave me the chance to explain the good news of Jesus to her, how he died on the cross for us to take this punishment for our sin on himself. After my explanation there were a few seconds of silence, then Marie said: “That makes so much sense!”. What an amazing moment!”

“One of the things we help our students in the GreenHouse Gap Year programme with is how to talk about Spiritual things and ultimately, have gospel conversations with our friends. On that same day that I spoke with Marie, I was preparing to teach the students about a resource we call the Pie Shape (no points for creativity, there).

“The Pie Shape is a tool which helps to illustrate what holds people back from deciding that they want to follow Jesus. Basically, there are three areas that might stop people from asking Jesus to be their leader and forgiver: knowledge, will and experience.

“One important question we must ask if we are going to grow in having gospel conversations with our friends is ‘What is holding you back from making a commitment to follow Jesus?’

The Pie-Shape

“If a person feels like they need more experiences with God, you can pray with them for specific things and help them to engage with prayer for themselves. Another good thing to do is to show them how to connect with God in different ways and help them to see how God is actively involved in their lives.

“If they think they need more knowledge ask them what they don’t understand and help them to discover the answers to their questions. You could go through the Stir Pack, an Alpha course with them or start reading the Bible together.

“If they are not making a commitment because it is a question of their will, then you can challenge them why they are sitting on the fence. There also might be some misconception about what it means to be a Christian that you need to correct.

“Back to my conversation with Marie…I asked her what she thinks she needs before she can make a commitment herself, and she said she feels like she needs more knowledge about God.

“Since that conversation, we are now Skyping nearly every week and reading through the Gospel of Luke together. Marie asks very deep questions about what we read and I am really challenged to think about these things and try to answer them as clearly as possible.

“It is exciting to see how God has worked in her life over the last few years and how she is now exploring what faith means for her own life.”

Applications are still open for our Degree and Gap Year Programmes. We would love to hear your story, so get in touch by following the above links.

We also have a new cycle of our volunteer training starting in January 2020. This community of like-minded learners is a place where you can train your volunteer team about discipleship and set a vision for your youth ministry.

Ever wondered what life is like on the Degree programme. How are Jon and Ellie being equipped on The Degree to change the trend of Youth Ministry?

If you are interested in The Degree programme and want to learn more, follow the link or check out when our next Open Day is. We would love to hear your story!

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.

Follow the link to find out more about how you can study The Degree – a BA(Hons) in Theology and Mission, whilst discipling youth.

Welcome to ‘Friends of Reign’ where we’ll share the latest stories from our students, teachers, staff members and more. Discover the heart of what we desire, what drives us and how we aim to strive for God’s best in every young person we encounter.

“When we were younger we had a really inspiring youth leader – actually my auntie – we had a very mixed youth group. Many of us weren’t Christians at the time and she loved us anyway and did life with us. She loved being with us and was there for everything. I guess I wanted to do what she did for us for other young people. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be walking with Jesus today. I love being a youth leader – you get to hang out with young people and be a kid again too!” – Olivia Dicksons, York

 Click here to read more stories like Olivia’s.

Follow this link to hear more about the course.

Welcome to our series ‘Friends of Reign’ where we’ll share the latest stories from our students, teachers, staff members and more. Discover the heart of what we desire, what drives us and how we aim to strive for God’s best in every young person we encounter.

“I began thinking about youth when I started my gap year at church. I started university but was put on a different course that I had applied for and so I came back not knowing what to do. My youth worker at the time offered me some work with her at the church. We had an amazing youth service one night and I thought ‘I really want to do this all the time’ and so I started looking at where and how I could study youth work. There weren’t many colleges near me that I could do this so the format of Reign Ministries really worked for me. I wanted to stay at the church I was at too.
What I love is that I didn’t have any training but young people were telling me that what I was doing was ‘amazing’ and ‘fun’ and they loved it so that encouraged me to pursue the degree. One young boy in the youth asked if he could help run an evening so just seeing his passion growing made me realise how valuable what I was doing is.” – Pippa, UK

 Click here to read more stories like Pippa’s.

Follow this link to hear more about the course.

Welcome to our new series ‘Friends of Reign’ where we’ll share the latest stories from our students, teachers, staff members and more. Discover the heart of what we desire, what drives us and how we aim to strive for God’s best in every young person we encounter.

“I think the thing about young people that gets me passionate about working with them is my own story. Growing up, I never really had anyone around like a youth worker or someone influential in my life that I could look up and say ‘yeah, this is someone that I admire or want to be like’. I think that drives me because I wish I had that when I was growing up so that makes me passionate to be that for young people. To be someone they look up to, someone who is there for them and someone they can journey with. That’s the main reason I want to mentor and help young people but when I was at university I began to see the world through God’s eyes. Many of the people I was around were just completely lost. We have different values and different ways that we lived and I just felt desperate to show them Jesus. I wanted them to know God.”
– Tilly, London, UK

unnamedWelcome to our new series ‘Friends of Reign’ where we’ll share the latest stories from our students, teachers, staff members and more. Discover the heart of what we desire, what drives us and how we aim to strive for God’s best in every young person we encounter.

 “Many years ago I had the feeling that God wanted me to work for him. I had an experience that made me think ‘I have to do youth work’ and was eager to learn all of the theology related to young people. I had a difficult time when I was younger – there were a few relationships that were difficult with my family but this made me have a strong relationship with Jesus. God gave me a picture about working with young people and I started youth work at my church. This is when I became really passionate about it. Kids are important. Often they grow up and they say “I don’t want to live with God anymore”. Young people, you can talk to them, and when they have problems you can help. It’s an important time of their life where they are discovering their values and making decisions for their life and what they believe in. I want to be there for them.”
– Rebecca, Hamburg Germany


As our students learn about how to boldly and relevantly take the gospel into the ordinary places of life they walk the line between making the gospel as attractive as possible and Jesus’ call to discipleship.  Third year student, Lucy Butler shares her passion to call young people to respond to the gospel.  Lucy regularly combines creativity with the concepts in The Stir Pack to help young people experience God for the first time

“I expect that no one wants to be a sales person for Jesus. It just doesn’t sound appealing. In fact, to me it sounds manipulative and it seems to make God seem small and incapable of being that good if we are having to persuade people into following him. I wonder, if at some point in your ministry you have had a time or a one off where you found yourself acting like you were selling God? Has there been a moment where you felt under pressure to make the gospel look as attractive as possible so that a young person didn’t say no?

I actually like selling things but I really hate selling God. I don’t see Jesus presenting the gospel that way. Through the gospels he is able to let people walk away from him if they choose to. He is also really clear that he is hard to follow and that it will demand a cost of commitment from the start, which will only increase throughout a lifetime with him.

lucy-collage

But us youth worker types are dreamers. We have big ideas for our ministries and big hopes for our young people. I wonder, how many of us have considered how we currently present Jesus to our young people? Have we already practiced what we say about how wonderful life is with God? Do we feel apologetic when we share about how hard it is to follow Jesus? I have felt apprehensive about having that conversation because it is hard to tell someone with a fledgling faith that God will get you into trouble and will really mess up your own plans, mostly because that can cause people to say no to God.

A heart of discipleship is key to a young person’s understanding of God. They need to know their identity as a disciple and their personal responsibility to disciple others throughout the rest of their life. This is the challenge that Jesus came to call people to, so why do we leave it out? An empty invite isn’t exciting and that’s probably why a lot of Christian youth are bored and confused about when the abundant life they were promised actually begins. I wonder if young people who know that they are disciples from the very beginning of their faith journey, find it easier to embrace that call to follow Jesus and disciple others.

At Reign conference, we looked at different frameworks for challenging young people with the gospel. I felt prompted to make sure that the challenge is present very early on in my discipling relationships with young people. For example, young people who come along to a Stir group, haven’t signed up to hear about Jesus but they have shown an interest in being part of the group.

Because of that, I think it’s very important that Jesus is talked about early on in the group and we communicate well about who Jesus is and what following him. We should be clear and open about our passion for disciples to be made but we need to recognise what the group currently is about and where young people are at. In time we can create decision points where young people have the choice to hear more about Jesus and to decide to practice this way of living.  It’s all about timing and listening to the present reality whilst still dreaming about the end goal of the group. The challenge needs to be obvious in any place where the gospel is being talked about.

Speaking from my own experience of coming to faith, just before I turned 18, I was actually completely inspired by the realisation that I was a disciple and that I had a call to go and disciple others. I remember sitting at a youth evening and physically feeling adrenaline at the thought of that responsibility. It set my faith into motion and made it exciting. I don’t want young people to miss out on that. I want discipleship to inspire people to grow in their faith and be a catalyst for movement to take place. We need to put challenge alongside our invitation.”

 

We are all learners when it comes to sharing the gospel.  Do you resonate with Lucy’s struggle?  How do you balance the invitation to the gospel with the challenge of discipleship?  Let us know how you’ve wrestled through this in your own mission or youth group.

Our students spent the week preparing for the FUTURE!  We are crazy about these young men and women and we think God is going to use them in mighty ways to build his Kingdom.  They have avoided the path of least resistance and are doing hard and holy things.  Take two minutes to see how God prepared them this week.