In January we had a visit from the National Director of Scripture Union, Tim Hastie-Smith. He came to preach at our morning service. The purpose was to support our local youth outreach, The Kings Cross Project. This is an inter-church initiative to connect with young people who are detached from church and Christian influence.
To relate with them, we have asked our own Youth Worker, Alex Shoderu, to lead a football-based strategy. Right now, we now have three venues for this: in Calthorpe Park, Grimaldi Park and on the Bemerton Estate. And we’ve extended the activities, through camps and residentials. In this way, kids are encouraged to develop socially and spiritually; learning to pray, and being introduced to Christ.
While involving local churches, the Kings Cross Project is supported administratively and financially, by Scripture Union. It is an expression of their missional understanding that it is not enough to work with our own teens in the church, although this is important. This because the majority of young people in Britain have no contact with the church at all; and that means no real understanding either of the gospel.
Their director, Tim Hastie-Smith, in his message to us, therefore encouraged us to think about reaching beyond the walls of our church. Of course, we still have to think about inviting people to join us, in our building – as we shall do for our Easter Guest Service on 1st April. But, we need to do more.
Some folks will love to come along, at our invitation, to a church service. Many, however, will not. It is a step too far. For them, church (seen by them as a building, an institution, or a religious ritual) is a foreign phenomenon. So, we need to go to them, to where they are; and meet them on their own turf.
Alex has already done this, through our monthly Kids Club serving the Weston Rise Estate, and the weekly Jam Friday for teenagers, which now draws in some of the kids he’s met through football in the Calthorpe Park. In both ventures, Alex has been ably supported by a great team of volunteers from KCBC. In addition, through partnering with students from UCL, we have been able to establish a Homework Club on Fridays. Last year, this initiative won an award from UCL’s Students Union.
A couple of years ago, we helped support the Peel Club’s old people’s club, when they were between premises. Since then, I have continued that link, through weekly visits. As a result, after some meaningful conversations, several have asked if we could start prayers or a service in the club.
In this way, mission goes out into the community, sharing the love of Christ in practical ways. And it is not just a matter of organised activities or projects. It also should affect the way we relate to our friends and work colleagues, family members and neighbours. So, let’s live out our Christian faith in as attractive a way as possible.