Welcome to Fusion Youth and Community UK's
Monthly Update for July!
This month, hear how a community of dedicated volunteers have helped young people like Emily to grow into more of who God has made them to be. This month's Process of Mission spotlight is on Role Modelling and you will also find links to a blog on our website with more Centre specific Fusion news. We hope this update encourages, inspires and and equips you! Enjoy the sunshine (when you get it!) and have a wonderful summer!
Knowing the way, showing the way
"It helped me to see what I am capable of doing"
Nineteen year old Emily Wickens (pictured above), recently returned from Denver, USA, where she attended a short-term Bible School. As part of her training she worked with homeless young people, youth groups and even went on outreaches to ski slopes! She is now working with Torchbearers in Lancashire, before starting university in September. I know Emily from my time in Wheatley, a village just outside of Oxford. Emily has grown up in a community where local Christians have committed to sharing the gospel with the children of their neighbourhood. For over a decade the Fusion Wheatley team have run a Summer Kids club that is now so popular, all 150 available places are booked within an hour of opening registrations.
I asked Emily to share with me some of her experience of the kids club, the team, and how being on the youth team has contributed to the person she is today.
Skye: So Emily, how long have you been going to the kids club?
Emily: I’ve done every single one except the first one. We moved in 2005, I would have been 9, so ten years nearly.
Skye: That’s incredible! What do you appreciate about kids club?
Emily: I love the fact that everyone who would normally go out of the village for church all come together; it kind of reminds you how many Christians there are around and how they all come together for this. It’s such a great way to reach out to kids; it’s the highlight of their summer. Often with trying to teach the bible with kids, if they don’t regularly go to church they kind of switch off, yet these kids are so excited. It’s insane that the registration fills up so quickly!
Skye: What attracts the children to the kids club?
Emily: The fact that there are all different ages involved and its feels like a really safe place. You’re not judged or anything, you can be free and have so much fun doing things that you wouldn’t often be able to do; like the types of craft and the activities. How often are you able to mattress surf?!
Skye: What made you want to become a part of the youth team?
Emily: I didn’t want to stop coming! There wasn’t anything, at that point, for older kids. The only way to keep going was to be a part of the youth team. I didn’t necessarily come with the same intentions of “Oh I just really want to help these kids”, it was “Oh I don’t want to stop coming,” but over time it’s kind of morphed to be the two (motivations) together.
Last year's group photo from "Mega Makers" Kids Club & a team photo from 2012 (Emily is in the top row, 2nd from the left)
Skye: The people who have been your leaders, who are now the people that you are working with, what do you think they’ve helped you to learn and grow in? Emily: They’ve given me a lot of opportunities to lead the bible studies or help them out with it and given me more responsibility than I would have kind of expected, not in a bad sense. It helped me to see what I am capable of doing and other ways to serve these kids and stick with them; learning how to share with them, have great conversation and get to know them in general.
Skye: Why do you think the youth team is important?
Emily: It helps you see what being a Christian means, what it looks like to live that out, to keep them interested. Because so many of the kids, when they hit high school, if they were going to church before they can lose church because it doesn’t look cool. They get to see us older ones who have kind of gone through that, to see that it is acceptable to be a Christian. Skye: It can be fun too!
Skye: How has being a part of the kids club team helped you/equipped you?
Emily: One of the things that it’s most helped me with is talking to people about my faith. Before I guess I kind of wouldn’t really have been up for talking about it, I was just kind of hoping they’d get it from my actions, but I didn’t want to share it. (The team) have shown what a difference it can make. It’s given me a lot of experience with working with kids which has helped me out for a lot of different things; knowing how to relate to them and get to know them, what kind of things they enjoy doing.
I look forward to working with Emily and the 30 strong youth team at the end of August for this year's Wheatley Summer Kids Club. It's wonderful to see the way these young people are given the opportunity to grow and learn as they help the children of their community to grow and learn too. I take my hat off to the wider team, for their commitment and drive to serve the younger generation of their community. Skye Leon
To read news snippets from Fusion teams around the country, click here to be taken to our website 's monthly news page!
The Process of Mission is Fusion's way of articulating the key aspects we have found to be necessary for reaching whole communities and seeing people find their place in God's Kindgom. If you'd like to be encouraged on your journey of life and mission, we hope these spotlights will do just that and provide helpful food for thought!
Process of Mission Spotlight: Role Modelling
by Skye Leon, Fusion Whitley
Who do you look up to? Two of my treasured role models are Uncle Kinga and Aunty Kath, my parents' best friends.
Kingsley and Katherine Ware befriended my parents when I was a small child. They shared their faith with my folks and my parents were led to the Lord. When Mum and Dad invited Jesus into their lives, he soon came into mine, too.
Every time we would visit the Ware family on one of our Christmas holidays, Mum would have a new "Aunty Kath nugget" to take away with her (whether it was a recipe, a children's devotional or a discipline technique). Dad always seemed well rested after time spent with his mate Kinga. All through my upbringing and even now as a twenty-six year old, Kinga & Kath are the sort of people I want to be like.
Their example has helped me to know it is possible to be meek and gentle, steadfast and sure, funny and authentic, merciful and compassionate. Uncle Kinga is the best listener I know, and I aspire to be available to others the way he has been for me. There are things I do now that I learned from them, things that they first learned from the Lord.
Everyone needs an Uncle Kinga and Aunty Kath. The brilliant thing is, as Christians, if we imitate Christ and live our lives making choices in humble obedience to him, it doesn't go unnoticed. An important way to share the gospel is to role model the love and life of Christ as it interacts with our situations and circumstances, relationships and choices.
If we desire to reach out to our neighbours and wider communities for Christ, we need to know the way (Christ) and show the way (life with him). As we role model his love and life, people will be able to see what life with Christ looks like and how beautiful it is! In doing so we promote the peace, restoration, grace and joy of the gospel. If we do so humbly, our friends and neighbours might even be led to ask us more about our choices. It's then that we will be able to point people back to Jesus, and offer them an opportunity to meet him.
In all aspects of our lives, especially mission, Jesus asks us to be role models, reflections of him. Why not spend some time today asking the Lord to reveal more of what that looks like for you; in your family, in your friendships, in your community?
Thanks for reading our latest update. We hope it has encouraged you. August is going to be a busy month, so our next update will not reach you until end of September.
Until then, enjoy the rest of the Summer!
Skye Leon, on behalf of
Fusion Youth and Community UK
Transforming our Nation - Fusion's National Conference
27-29th November 2015
Don't miss out on a weekend of encouragement and inspiration as Fusion staff, team, volunteers, friends and acquaintences gather at The Mill.
Fusion's International Forum is taking place at the Frontier Centre, near Northampton this October. It is a gathering of Fusion leaders from across the world. You are most welcome to come for the first two days of the Forum to connect with the wider Fusion family.
Dates: 18th - 23rd October.
For more information and to book your place,click here.