Scripture Union (SU) has launched a new mission framework to reach young people – the missing generation from many UK churches.
‘Revealing Jesus’ is two years in the making and aims to reach the 95% of under-18s across England and Wales who do not go to church.
SU is encouraging churches to recruit ‘Faith Guides’ – volunteers who feel called to engage with children and young people outside the church.
The new framework is rooted in the idea that role models are crucial to the development of young people’s faith.
Volunteers will be trained in mentoring younger Christians through four stages in their development of a personal Christian faith – from making initial connections and seeking out opportunities to explore the faith, to making a personal responseto Jesus and finally a lifelong commitment to grow in the Christian faith within an engaging and age-appropriate community.
Mature Christians are being encouraged to sign up for free training and coaching from the SU team on how they can accompany children and young people through these four stages of faith development.
In addition to Revealing Jesus, SU has launched ‘Grow Communities’ – a new network of youth-focused groups.
While the groups will be led by adult Christians, they will be “peer-shaped” and “peer-served”, while reflecting young people’s learning styles and interests, SU said.
The groups will be linked to local churches and are designed to be complementary to the usual Sunday services.
SU National Director Myles MacBean said the number of young people growing up outside the Christian faith was a “wake-up call” to the Church and required a radical re-imagining of youth outreach.
“From its foundation over 150 years ago, this is what SU has been all about – helping churches to go wherever the children are but the gospel isn’t, radically and creatively re-imagining what that means for each generation while remaining faithful to Biblical bedrock,” he said.
Hettie Taberner has been taking part in a pilot of the new strategy in Stockport.
She said: “It’s exciting to see young people come to know Jesus and become part of Grow Communities. We’re looking forward to supporting them as they get started.”
For more information about how to get involved in Revealing Jesus and Grow Communities, visit: su.org.uk/revealingjesus