Making disciples however we can

3rd Mar 2021

There's nothing like getting to meet the Leaders from Urban Saints Groups around the UK and Ireland. Sadly the opportunities to do so in the last year have been few and far between but one positive has been that most of us have become much more familiar and comfortable with speaking on video. So we've taken more time in 2021 to grab quick chats with our volunteers and what an insight it has been to life on the mission field during the pandemic. The exciting opportunities and the challenging stuff too. Here's a few snippets from our conversations...

(These interviews were taken from our private Facebook group for Urban Saints Leaders - if you are one of our Group volunteers, we'd love you to join the Facebook group and get involved.)

Jacob's Group has been meeting throughout the pandemic on Zoom, faithfully being available for their wide age range of young people using technology and creativity. It's not been easy but it's made a difference nonetheless...

"We've not had any in-person time together (since the start of Covid-19) but we've only had one week off in all that time. Varying numbers on Zoom with the ones who come consistently and those who drop in from time to time but it's all been about trying to bring that same DNA of the Group into the online space. We've tried lots of different approaches to get that mixture of fun together with the opportunity to listen to each other and learn more of who God is. We've tried varying where the spiritual input happens and splitting the age groups and we're still experimenting even now. Some of those (who have not been every week) have said that it's comforting to know we're there every week even when they can't make it.

"We're trying to keep the teaching and input we put in as relevant as we can to the current circumstances - and something they can apply to their lives - without focusing too much on how difficult things are right now. Many just come along for a bit of an escape and not having the pressure of having to answer questions in class. It's a real balance." - Jacob, Exeter

In North Wales, the Group that Joanne helps lead have different approaches for different age groups. Online gatherings, distributing resources such as 'Kids Club By Post' and even experimenting with virtual Camps experiences have all featured since March 2020. But the key thing is caring for the Group members and their families beyond the weekly catch-ups...

"Don't just think about the Group - the hour or however long it is - but look at the bigger picture. How can you show that child, young person or family that you genuinely care? It's about being there for their whole life not just an hour a week. Perhaps encouraging members of the Group to go for a bike ride with those that are struggling or when we've dropped off the 'Kids Club By Post' packs having a chat with the parents, showing that you care, listening to them or finding out what the young people like doing beyond the Group.

"Last summer we couldn't run Camps in the field as normal so we put together a box with all the things that you would need to run a Camp, along with lots of treats like marshmallows, so parents could offer something similar at home. These made such a difference because you keep going week-in-week-out but sometimes you need a little something different to bring some extra discipleship input. Giving new ideas and different things to think about than our team of leaders would have covered." - Joanne, North Wales

In Dudley in the West Midlands, Paul's Group have been making use of every opportunity and are a great reminder to us all of the importance of sticking at it, no matter what...

“Keep persevering and don’t lose hope. At times I have definitely felt disheartened. But it’s being reminded that even if just one person starts walking with Jesus then that’s a great victory. Keep on going, keep on persevering. Even if it’s just posting something through their doors to show you are still there, so they know if they need anything they can reach out...” - Paul, Dudley.

If you are one of our fantastic Urban Saints Leaders or volunteers reading this, we want you to know that we are so grateful for all you have done this past year to navigate a most challenging season of mission. We'd love to hear from you on how it's been for you and what you have had to do to keep making disciples. Why not get in touch and tell us more?

If you are not currently helping in a local Group, why not help us to plant more Groups like this as we come out of the Covid-19 restrictions? We've got new Groups waiting to get started already and we'd love to see even more launched over the next months and years.

Could you give something regularly to see even more young disciples made for Christ in communities across the UK and Ireland?

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