Restore, Regenerate, Together

  Monday 21st February, 2022

Restore, Regenerate, Together

A leader offering a helping hand at Balnarring SUFM

I wonder how you feel at the beginning of this new year? We’ve experienced two years of continuous change, adapting or cancelling plans, lockdowns and isolation, frustration and fear. As we enter a third year of COVID-19 impacting life, many are tired, and hope can seem hard to find.

In Ecclesiastes 3, the writer reminds us there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven (v1). Over the past two years we’ve experienced and witnessed in the world around us much of the scope of life outlined in these words; births and deaths (v2), weeping and laughing (v4), speaking out and staying quiet (v7), love, hate, war and peace (v8). In the complexity of life, there is purpose and hope. “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (v11)

Within this season of ministry we’ve seen wonderful innovation and creativity, resilience and determination. Chaplains and volunteer teams have identified new ways to engage and serve local communities, and we’ve developed online programs, training, and resources to continue providing opportunities for experiencing God’s love and Good News.

Across Australia, SU had identified three areas of strategic focus for the coming two years: unifying our national movement under a single vision and brand, mobilising people in more communities to share God’s love and Good News, and giving more children, young people, and families opportunities to discover life in God’s big story. As a Victorian team, as we’ve sought God’s heart for SU in our region, and we’ve identified three ministry and engagement priorities:

Restore: As we serve and partner in local communities, we’ll take time to hear stories, journey together, seek healing, and discover hope and life together in God’s big story. We’ll work to restore relationships—with God, each other, within communities, and with God’s created world.

Regenerate: As plants respond to the trauma and devastation of bushfire, amongst the blackened landscape we quickly see the new green shoots of epicormics growth as new life begins. Our experience has changed us; we’ve adjusted the ways we work, study, connect socially, worship, and recreate. As SU teams reconnect in communities, with local churches and partners we’ll identify where God is at work, partnering with what God doing, fostering innovation and creativity as we grow local missional expressions.

Together: We yearn for relationship and connection, we want gather with others, join teams, learn from each other as we serve, and provide opportunities for children, young people, and families to connect and know acceptance, have fun, experience God’s love and Good News, and be invited to explore their place in God’s big story.

The words of 1 Peter 5:10-11 are those which empower our movement as we serve and invite us into an ongoing journey with Jesus this year.

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.
1 Peter 5: 10-11

As SU volunteers, supporters, chaplains, and staff, I pray that these words will reflect your experience in the year ahead and that together—as we pray, engage, and serve—God will restore, regenerate, and build his Kingdom.

God bless you!

Regional Manager, Victoria

This story is part of the February 2022 issue of CONNECT.