Catie and Rebekah met at Port Fairy SUFM when they were kids. Their friendship grew each summer and they now lead on SUFM together!
‘The believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch of Syria. They preached the words of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch… began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. (Acts 11:19-21)
The first generation of Christians took quite some time before they adapted their mission to fully include Gentiles. Peter received a vision and visited Cornelius; influential Christians argued that Gentiles had to become Jewish to become Christian; and later the Jerusalem Council was convened. However it was the breakout of persecution that forced Christians out of Jerusalem and saw an unnamed group of disciples start proactively sharing the Good News with Gentiles in Antioch. The Antioch church became the launching pad of Paul and Barnabas’ mission to the Gentiles across the Roman world.
It was a simultaneously negative experience for many people that thrust the Jesus movement into adaptive mission. It was a group of volunteers who did something new and unproven and as they did, God moved in people’s lives.
None of us would have chosen a global pandemic and economic crisis, but here we are. It has forced us all to adapt our lifestyle in so many ways. Our society is having to undertake massive changes to sustain our health, communities and economy. COVID-19 is presenting significant challenges for SU, as it has with churches and other Christian organisations. But in this there is a real opportunity for us to adapt and discover new ways of sharing God’s love and Good News with Aussie kids, young people and families.
SU Victoria is a movement long characterised by people trying new missional approaches: Coolamatong, Theos, Master’s Workshop, Elevate, SOAR Adventures, and Catalysts. Each of these were started as everyday people tried something new, watching God move in people’s lives.
Each of us are part of this SU movement, shaped by SU’s missional DNA. We’re all being thrust into an opportunity for adaptive mission. In our schools and unis, our workplaces and neighbourhoods, we’re being forced to do things in different ways and it’s opening up major points of stress, along with new ways of connecting. Likewise, this opportunity has and could continue to force us to adapt our ministry activities. Already SU chaplains and catalyst teams have been working online, and our July Performing Arts Camp will be online. We’re also sharing online discipleship resources for families and churches. But as we move forward, every field ministry team will continue to face new challenges and opportunities to adapt.
In your SU program, how could you use the COVID-19 restrictions to try substantially new things? Could your team send out a new team to initiate an SU program in another place or with another group of kids? A special interest day camp? Woodworking? Art? A sports-based KidsGames? Could you run a program in a local community you care about during a weekend or the school holidays? Could your brekky club deliver meals to families in financial distress? All are opportunities to help young people and families connect with God’s love.
In your day-to-day connections in your school, uni, workplace or neighbourhood, what opportunities are arising to demonstrate God’s Good News? Could you gather a few other Christians together to develop ways to adapt to the challenges? In my street, we’ve now got 24 households engaging on WhatsApp and connecting in different ways, and I’m wondering how we take it further.
This is a time in which we’re all being forced to adapt in many parts of our lives. What opportunities are you seeing to adapt in how you participate in God’s mission. As an SU movement, let’s keep adapting together!
— Justin, State Director, Scripture Union Victoria
This story is part of the June 2020 issue of CONNECT. Read the latest update from our State Director here. For other stories from this issue, click on a tile below.
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