NewDay 2015 Review

PHOTO NewDay 2016 Meeting Crowd

It has been a privilege to serve our young people at Newday this year.  We joined 6000 or so other young people in Norfolk, camping for a week to explore and grow in our faith, as well as have lots of fun!

Over the week I watched the young people push into the presence of God, learn more about Him, build new friendships, as well as, serve and love others well.

We went with the team and youth from Harpenden and fun was to be had by all.  The resilience of young people continually surprised me; queuing up for showers… from around 5 am (the shower/toilet block was right outside the leaders’ tent),  feeling no regret when dousing their youth leaders with gunge! Doing the most ridiculous tasks to win prizes!

It was great as I got to see a different side to our youth, the musical talent, creativity, laughter and joy were things I already knew but during the week it was a privilege to find out more as we worshipped, learnt and did life together.

Linda Geevanathan, Hope Church Youth Leader

 

Even though I’ve attended Newday 6 times now, every year I get something new from it. This year I went to a seminar on Islam, which is an area I’m really interested learning about as I go to a college, which has many Muslims in. It was great hearing more about Islam and how to answer difficult questions from Muslims. Newday is a great place to grow friendships with people and God. The worship this year was amazing and spoke lots of truths:

“My soul is alive with worship” , “Even through the darkest night I know you won’t forsake me” , “All of my failing, Jesus has taken with open arms at cavalry” , “There is no better day to be living now the price is paid for our salvation”

Sarah 17

 

Going to Newday for the first time as a leader was certainly more exhausting than going as a youth! Watching the youth meet with God however was great and definitely made the lack of sleep and obligatory gunging worthwhile! Sharing our site with Harpenden this year was a particular highlight, as it was fantastic to meet and get to know other young Christians from nearby, and they were all fun and friendly. As always, there was plenty of excellent teaching through the week, with many of our youth finding the hilarious talk on the resurrection breakfast from Mike Pilavachi one of their favourites. Yet again, an awesome week, as always.

Daniel 18

 

Newday is, without a doubt, the highlight of my summer. There is something so incredibly moving about 6000 young people worshipping in one place, lifting up one name. The number of new commitments, re-commitments and reported healings is enough to make you realise how amazing it really is because no one is too young to experience God’s greatness. And at the same time, it’s awesome to hang out with a bunch of other God-loving young people and socialise in a fun and positive environment and I can’t wait to come back next year as a server.

One talk that stood out for me was by Andrew Wilson, where he talked about leaving the things of the world behind for this one amazing, beautiful, free gift. I loved it because it helped me to realise that I really can just worship God forever and He alone is enough to satisfy me. The sense of freedom I felt was overwhelming, It’s like one of the songs we sang whilst we were there that said “take the world but as long as there’s you, I’m singing.”

Hannah 18

 

NewDay is an event for 12-19 year olds to encounter God, and runs 1st – 6th August (departing on the 7th) 2016.

Booking info will be given nearer the time – check hopechurch.co.uk click ‘News & Other’

 

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What’s In A Name?

A ‘Hope Hotspot’ blog
Focussing on an aspect of Hope Church life to help us thank God for what He is doing

Our Under 18’s Groups Are Having A Change Of Name…

As leaders we were praying about our Kids’ and Youth work and we felt as a team that it was right to give our under 18’s groups new names as a declaration of what we want to see God do in them, and through them, as well as an acknowledgement of what they carry when they are followers of Jesus Christ.

So the new names are as follows –

 

Little Lights   0 – 3 years

Sparks   Nursery – Year 2

Blaze   Year 3 – Year 6

Ignite   Year 7 – 18 years

          

The names communicate, first of all, the very presence of God;

Prophetically, we want our under 18’s to be lights, growing in their knowledge of and relationship with God,  knowing who they are and who they carry, passionate, courageous, bold, pure, contagious, knowing and spreading the good news and full of the Spirit of God.

 

It sounds like a lot to expect of our Kids’ work and our children; but really this is a declaration of what we want God to do in them and through them, that each of them will be a trail blazer in everything they do.

 

We want to encourage a culture of expectation about what God can do in and through our children, not just on a Sunday but at home and in their schools and colleges….

 

Throughout the Bible we have examples of children used by God; Joseph had dreams, Miriam kept watch over Moses, Samuel heard the audible voice of God, David knew God and had the courage to face Goliath, Mary the mother of God chose to trust God and say yes to all He had planned for her.

 

For us this name change is a stake in the ground, a prophetic declaration over the children and young people of Hope Church Luton…  That they will each be lights – transforming the environments they are in.

 

Children and young people, properly trained, are capable of courageous faith and considerable usefulness in heaven’s cause.

 

A while ago I read this

Hugo MeCord tells of the influence of a boy, in the 1900’s who was attending a gospel tent meeting in Ireland. In the audience, the boy was seated next to Bill Tyner. During the course of the service, Tyner leaned over and asked the boy: “What does Jesus mean to you?” The boy quickly replied: “Why, he’s my everything. What does he mean to you?” Later Tyner, having been deeply moved by the incident, wrote the beautiful hymn, “He Is My Everything.”

 

“He is my everything. He is my all.
He is my everything, both great and small.
He gave His life for me, made everything new.
He is my everything. Now how about you?”

 

For us this name change is a stake in the ground, a prophetic declaration over the children and young people of Hope Church Luton…  That they will each be lights – transforming the environments they are in.

 

It is a privilege and honour to serve our children and young people.  We know Sunday mornings are an important part of helping our parents and the church family to teach and model what it means to live life in a Jesus centred,  fun way.

 

We want to dream big for what God can do in and through all our children now… Why? Because He wants to use us all to demonstrate His love to the world.

 

 

Linda

Linda Geevanathan is responsible for youth & children's work at Hope Church, and a part-time teacher

Linda Geevanathan is a part-time teacher & responsible for Youth & Children’s work at Hope Church

Fulfilled Prophecies

The first in a series of blogs giving thanks to God for what He is doing in Hope Church Luton – we call them Hope Hotspots!

 

We are a church that believes that God speaks today. It is always encouraging to look back at things that God spoke in the past and see how they have been fulfilled. Twelve years ago we had a visit from an Australian based in South Africa, Kerry Southey. She spent a weekend with us which climaxed with an evening spent with the leaders of the church. She shared with us things that she saw for us as a church. Much of what she saw has happened. For example she spoke about us having our own building, she almost perfectly described the building we now own.

I would love to see you guys with your own building. I really feel like you need it. Seriously feel like you need it. …..If God does what I think I see, that building is going to have a lot of events of things happening in it all the time and you can’t just set things up and pull them down all the time like you have to do in a school hall, you really do need your own building. And it needs to be something with a lot of little rooms off to do things. Somewhere that does not necessarily look like a church, but somewhere you can advertise this is going on here -you know- come and be involved in it. I think you are going to have quite a lot of little programs going on.

I just feel like it almost needs to be like a community centre. That is the phrase that I had. That it is somehow like a community centre. So we need to believe God for a community centre. Buy the land, or building of a community centre. Something that can have pool tables and up to date video games.

She also spoke about finances.

I think that there is finance to access in God. I think that if you get programs up and running that do something with young people, and I think if you have portfolios that you present this is what we are doing, I think that there is actually finance of the wicked that you can access. I really do.

Since receiving this word we have received a £50,000 grant to refurbish the building, numerous smaller grants totally £10,000 for youth equipment, kitchen equipment and to upgrade the cellar, £25,000 from the Near Neighbours scheme for various social events and to employ a community worker. We have also applied for a further £50,000 over two years to enable us to expand our community drop in, Open House.

God has been very faithful to us, as He promised he would be. It is worth spending time just reflecting on this and thanking God for what He has done.

 

Tony

 

tonyt

Tony Thompson is the leader of Hope Church Luton.  He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.

Those Who Show Up

by Andy Flannagan

Tony’s final book review based on his summer reading.

This is the one book I read whilst on holiday written by someone I have met. Andy spent many years in Luton before moving to London he returned recently to spend a morning with local church leaders. This prompted me to read the book. He currently leads “Christians on the left”, which supports and encourages Christians involved in politics, particularly the Labour Party. He works closely with his equivalent in other political parties. This book is about encouraging Christians to get involved in our society rather than to snipe from the side lines. His particular focus is party politics but he recognises that much of what he says is equally relevant to every aspect of creation, God’s desire has always been for every sphere of culture to be transformed which also includes Business, Media, Education, and Arts.

His critique of the church is that our energy and finances have mostly gone into training people to be better worship leaders, better preachers, or better small group leaders. We haven’t been investing so much time in training people to be better journalists, better politicians, or better artists. He is wanting to change this.

He recognises that this isn’t the only problem. He is upfront about the things that stop Christians being involved, particularly in politics, however he will not allow these things to become excuses.

Some of the particular challenges I see in politics are these: • Lust for power leading to unbridled selfish ambition. • The need to beat someone else to achieve your ends, leading to spin and point-scoring. • Compromise of principle for expediency, or popularity. • The co-option of a rights-based individualism. None of these challenges are insurmountable, and I see a new generation of believers who are getting involved and already moving in the opposite spirit.

Acceptance and agreement are not the same thing. It is possible to work alongside people with whom we disagree on certain subjects. We are not necessarily saying that we agree with them on everything. I wish we could all be more honest about this.

The problem for a politician who is a Christian, however, is that you must overcome the perception that you are biased and bigoted from the start. To do this, more of us have to put our heads above the parapet and enter politics. I can, of course, sympathise with Christians who are already in politics but who keep their faith to themselves – but wonder what Jesus would say?’

He also says party politics can be very boring, attending long meetings that go on and on and are badly led and seem tedious and pointless!

We shouldn’t worry which political party to join and get involved in. We all know that our parties, and thereby the country, will be better for an influx of believers – those who hold kingdom before tribe – into politics.

He identifies many areas that Christians need to work to see change and that this is best done within the system than outside it.

It is not the church’s job to be a spiritual service provider when the nation needs a conscience, funeral or a wedding, leaving all the governing to the practical folks. This is not the vision of Scripture. But this is sadly the post-Christendom, post-modern hand we have been dealt, where society wishes the church would just get back in its elegant box rather than pester the rest of society with concerns about how we are governed and how we live together.

Just having the right policy slate and promoting it from outside the system will never achieve that. Surely we want people who will stop for a moment and consult ancient deeper wisdom, rather than just opinion polls, focus groups or Twitter feeds.

Sadly political parties are spending much more on employing people to manage the message than they are on people who will actually work on policy.

He is very clear that the alternative to active involvement is not acceptable.

As Christians we cannot allow ourselves to become just another minority fighting for our rights.

If you only love them enough to see their spiritual lives sorted out, then your love runs the danger of being a cover for increasing the size of your church.

We know he cares about the state of our hearts, but he also cares about the heart of our state.

We look like those who are rather desperately defending our patch of land, rather than seeking kingdom values in all of society.

I found myself fully convinced by his arguments and want to do all I can to see Christians fully involved in all aspects of God’s creation. Social scientists talk of the presence of seven broad areas of life that influence culture, government, religion, business, education, family, media, and the arts. We shouldn’t withdraw from any of them, but seek to be fully involved.

He suggests setting up vocational groups involving people who are passionate about the different spheres are essential if we are truly to see transformation in these spheres. This is something I am beginning to talk to other Church leaders in the town about. Watch this space.

 

Tony

 

tonyt

Tony Thompson is the leader of Hope Church Luton.  He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.