“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.”
2 Corinthians 6:2b, NIV
Rarely a day goes by without more news about the challenges that young people are facing.
Across the UK, we are seeing a real hunger among young people to join the new Urban Saints groups. They are valuing the togetherness, the faithfulness, the caring leaders, the fun, adventure, wisdom and the joy of being introduced to Jesus.
So, I am writing today to ask for your urgent support to help us turn the tide. We want to plant more and more Groups across the UK – but we are completely dependent on your generosity.
Everything Urban Saints stands for is about lasting discipleship – the “long walk in the same direction” – the brilliant weekly groups, camps, residentials and overseas adventures.
What is lasting discipleship? Why is it vital to do more now? How will we turn the tide?
To answer these important questions, we asked four inspirational generations from the same Urban Saints’ Group.
Geof “Goff” Turner
Geof joined Guildford Crusaders in 1935, aged 7, “I owe everything worth having to the Group. I continue to pray daily for them. After my time in the army, I returned to Guildford in 1948 and became a Group Leader, continuing there until I passed on the baton in 1976.
The range of activities attracted young people and retained their involvement. Strong and healthy relationships were cultivated, preparing the ideal “soil” for the “seeds” of the Christian faith to take root and produce many disciple-making disciples.
Leaders saw their involvement as a definite call from God and gave it top priority for their time.
From about age 15, members became involved in the running of the Group to gently gain experience in speaking and effective leadership. This encouraged them to remain until they moved away – and when they moved away, a leader kept in touch.”
Peter joined in 1970 from a non-Christian, very occasional church-going family. “My friends had come back from the Summer Camp and were keen to drag me along.
When I got older, I was described by Thump, a leader, as a ‘spoilt brat’ which I regret to say was a fair description, but he and another leader, Trench, stuck by me.
Around 17, I came to faith. Thump and Trench encouraged me as I went off to University. They kept in touch and I led back at the Group during the holidays.
In my last university holiday, I was full of my PhD offers. One of the Group Leaders wrote to me asking if I was sure I was doing what God wanted me to? They felt I should return to Guildford to lead at the Group. This hit me like nothing before or since. Six weeks later, I was a trainee accountant in Guildford, but more importantly, leading at the Group.
This I have been doing ever since, some 40 or so years and 48 summer camps later – seeing many come through the Group, some who were great, and some difficult like me. However, stick by them, spend time with them, introduce Jesus to them and like me, lives can be changed. They’ve gone on to become a commander of the Gurkhas, Professors, musicians, CEOs, vicars, bible translators in Africa and missionaries – the list could go on.
We need to do more of this, and to do that, we need donations to fund the start-up of groups and to fund the ongoing work. My life would have been very different without Urban Saints – other youngsters can have the same opportunity if you can give to make this happen.”
Gemma became a leader after she married in 2009. Her husband had grown up in the Group and had become a leader too. “From the beginning, the vibrant character of the Group shone through – high energy, exhilarating, accepting and united. What struck me the most was the overwhelming presence of Jesus at the centre.
The support and example of other female leaders has been integral to my leadership journey enabling and encouraging me to share my own faith. Two of us meet regularly and we provide one another with accountability and encouragement – supporting each other whilst both raising young families.
I have had the privilege of watching the faith of young people grow, providing time and space for them to share their journey, to ask questions and to find answers. These have challenged me in my own relationship with Jesus, constantly drawing me closer to Him.
It is an exciting prospect to think of the potential of new Groups to achieve the same!”
Jagat joined in 2008, “Urban Saints Guildford changed my life. Through the relationships that the Leaders developed and their commitment to explaining the good news of Jesus, God has been gracious in opening my eyes to salvation through Jesus Christ.
We meet every Friday night – one of the highlights of my childhood was meeting with other young people from different schools across Guildford.
In two hours, we would achieve a bundle six people high, hear everyone’s ‘highlight of the week’ and study the Bible together.
As I got older, the Leaders actively supported me to run activities, teach Gospel truths and prepare me for leadership. Investing in young people to ‘pass on the baton’ was invaluable and also prepared the way for the future – many of us now lead at the Group.
The genuine and dedicated interest of leaders, and a community who can challenge each other about the Christian faith, is a privilege that should be available to every young person.”
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
Matthew 7:24, NIV
For us, lasting discipleship means gathering and loving unreached young people for the long-term in weekly groups. We walk life with them. We share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We help them to hear His words and put them into practice – the difficult job of building lives on the Rock.
You can help us turn the tide.
In the words of Peter Jeffrey, “We need to do more of this, and to do that, we need donations to fund the start-up of new groups and to fund the ongoing work. My life would have been very different without Urban Saints – other youngsters can have the same opportunity if you can give to make this happen.”
Your brother in Christ,
Chief Executive Officer
P.S. Any donation you can give will mean we can do more to turn the tide.