SU's Heart to Keep Innovating

  Tuesday 2nd March, 2021

SU's Heart to Keep Innovating

Camp Coolamatong Interns around "God Is Love" written in the sand

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” (Luke 4:42-43, NIV)

As we induct new interns, chaplains, and staff, we share SU’s origin stories and their significance. We recreate the scene from 150 years ago where Josiah Spiers wrote ‘God is love’ on the beach and invited kids to decorate it with him. We help them reflect on how innovative this experiential ministry with children would have been in that time. We tell of Annie Marston, pioneering daily Bible reading guides and persisting firmly until SU adopted them. Within the first eight years, over 300,000 people around the world became SU members, reading the Bible daily. Deep in our ethos, from our very origins, SU has been experimenting, adapting, and innovating with mission and discipleship.

This pioneering, innovative ethos is strong within SU Victoria’s story: initiatives like Theos and school camping at Coolamatong in the 1970s; Elevate, our community development framework for work in schools in 2000s; our children and families ministry internship and catalyst approach in 2019. This past year this ethos was again demonstrated as chaplains creatively adapted to support their school community remotely, through the provision of online resources to support families and churches in discipling their children during lockdown, and by our summer teams adapting their mission plans, including introducing many new community action projects. This innovative ethos continues to be worked out in our ministry practice.

When Jesus commenced his ministry, the impact was life-bringing and immediate. The townspeople – and possibly his disciples – wanted him to stay. But Jesus saw that his mission to proclaim the Good News of God’s kingdom required he and his team keep moving, growing, and adapting.

This year will be another significant year in the life of SU. Subject to a vote by the members in each state, SU Victoria, along with 6 other state movements and ChildSafe, will merge mid-year. The heart behind this change is to more effectively grow as a grassroots mission movement, so every child, young person, and family in Australia has opportunities for life-changing encounters with Jesus. We have to keep moving, growing, and adapting to stay healthy and fulfil our mission.

At this key moment in his ministry, Jesus was in a solitary place, spending time with his Father—depending on God and being guided in his ministry. You are part of God’s work through SU Victoria, and in dependence on God, we want to move forward together into new territory. Please pray SU continues to depend on God and pioneer in fulfilling God’s mission. Thanks for being part of SU as we keep experimenting, adapting and innovating together.

— Justin, State Director/CEO, SU Victoria

This story is part of the February 2021 issue of CONNECT. Read the latest update from our State Director here. For other stories from this issue, click the button below.