Could I ask you just to spare a few minutes to read some very exciting news and prayerfully consider how you could join in – maybe by praying, making a financial donation or helping find new leaders to start groups?
I remember like it was just yesterday when I sensed the Lord speak to me in November 2000 about the importance of raising up generation of baton passers of the faith (Psalm 78). The reason that that there are over 2 billion Christians across the world today is because the baton of faith has passed from generation to generation, from millennium to millennium, rooted right back to Christ himself. We have an enormous responsibility and privilege to carry the baton of faith and leadership ourselves, and pass it on to those who follow us.
It has genuinely been a joy and privilege to pass the baton of Urban Saints' leadership to Richard Langmead this past year. Richard has wholeheartedly grabbed that baton and, through building and strengthening the team, we are hugely excited to announce together the launch of our 2020 vision and strategy.
Please do take some time to sit down and read our strategy. It sets out how we believe that Jesus calls us to share the gospel and make disciples, and that is what Urban Saints is all about. We believe that young people meeting in weekly groups, enjoying everyday adventures and being together on camps is a powerful way to change lives and disciple young people.
We’re looking to raise up Impact Team Leaders across the UK and Ireland who will gather volunteers to start groups in unreached communities, schools and clusters of churches. Your money will go to the support and provision of these Impact Team Leaders.
We are so grateful for all that the Lord has done in the last 111 years of this movement but, with 95% of young people who don’t engage with church it is so incredibly vital that we work, and believe, for a fresh disciple-making movement amongst this generation. How will that happen? Read and be inspired by the enclosed strategy which explains how we are focusing on planting groups, building identity, offering overseas mission trips, and developing our online Energize resource.
Discipleship is tough. It's not a quick-fix solution but rather requires a long-term commitment, some amazing volunteer leaders and exciting weekly groups. It's all about 'a long walk in the same direction'.
Sarah understands what that's all about:
"I was 'born' into a Crusader Group! My Dad, Derrick Lewin, was a leader of the Wallington Crusader Class in South London for about 50 years. As Wallington was a boys’ group, my involvement as a child was mainly limited to going on outings and helping at the annual mammoth Jumble Sale which used to raise huge amounts of money for ‘our’ missionaries. In 1981 the Group became mixed and I joined Crusaders for real, in due course, becoming a helper and then a leader. I also helped start a new group which met mid-week and was designed to reach out to a whole new set of children who also desperately had a need to hear about the Gospel.
My Dad led on many Camps, mainly Westbrook and Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, and one year persuaded me to join him as they were very short of cooks. I absolutely loved it! It was so much fun being part of a Christian team and great to be sharing God’s wonderful plan with so many young lives. After that, I did a Camp every summer!
I met Graham from Guildford Boys’ Crusaders at a Leadership Training Course at Westbrook and, in 1994, when we got married, I began to support him in leading at a boys’ group – just like my Mum had done for my Dad! I went to my first fortnight-long Guildford Crusader Summer Camp that year, and we haven’t missed one since! We now have three daughters who were ‘born’ into a Crusader Group (much like me, with a Dad leading at a boys’ group) who are all involved in various ways in the group and on Camp.
Long-term discipleship against the background of a steady weekly group is so important. Nearly all our leaders are ‘home grown’. This provides stability, leaders know each other pretty well and it’s great to be a part of a team with many shared memories and experiences with lots of laughs along the way. Seeing lads grow up through the group, making commitments to Christ and then taking on a leadership role, is what it’s all about and we long for there to be more new groups planted who will do the same thing."
Are you coming on the journey?
I am personally committed to be a cheerleader for Richard, the team, and the mission that God is calling us to. I am committed to play my part by praying like crazy, by being an Urban Saints volunteer youth leader myself, and by giving generously. I’m asking you, in this moment, to do the same:
This is why I'm committed to stand with Richard and the team with this new strategy. Will you stand with us too and make a long-term impact for children and young people?
Yours in His Service
Urban Saints President
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