Young evangelists to be recruited after success of mission training course
Sixty young evangelists are to be recruited by HOPE Revolution and the Church of England, following the success of Mission Academy Live. The young evangelists, aged 11 to 18, will be nominated by youth workers and will receive an intensive year of mentoring and training with small group work and residentials.
Evangelism has been on the agenda of many youth groups in the past year as they have taken part in Mission Academy Live, a training course which began last year. The video-based course includes 10 innovative sessions, each one empowering young people as missional disciples. The course focuses on peer-to-peer evangelism in a small group context. Each session provides teaching, discussion and testimony, all leading to a practical response, encouraging young people to be intentional, authentic, united and obedient to the call of Christ to ‘Go, and make disciples’.
Mission Academy Live groups have been running in 420 churches including 146 Anglican churches, since Mission Academy Live was launched by HOPE Revolution in partnership with the Church of England and Christian youth ministries. Jimmy Dale, who leads HOPE Revolution alongside his role as National Youth Evangelism Officer for the Church of England says, ‘Many of those who have signed up for Mission Academy Live have now completed the 10 sessions and we are starting to hear some really encouraging stories about how the course has been equipping and releasing young people in peer-to-peer evangelism.’
Elaine Marsh, a youth leader at Christ Church Felixstowe, said: ‘The session on prayer was very powerful. One young girl, who is normally very quiet, all of a sudden said “I want to speak”’. She shared her testimony, then went on to invite a friend to a celebration and the friend went along.’
Ricky Rew, a youth leader at Rayleigh Baptist Church said, ‘We regularly have feedback from the young people about how they've shared their faith with their friends. One young person decided to run Youth Alpha at their school - it was attended by 3-10 young people. A young person came to faith in Jesus as a result. Praise God! Such an encouragement to him and to the group. It's been a great resource - pitched at just the right level for our group. The speakers have been particularly good - brief, relevant and biblical.’
Paul Symon from Barnstaple said, ‘One guy was praying for opportunities to share his faith and the next week he was walking to college with a friend and they asked him straight about why he believed. He got the chance to share the gospel and his testimony.’
‘Over all the feedback has been really encouraging with youth leaders getting in touch to let us know how they’ve found running the course,’ Jimmy says. ‘One youth leader wrote: “It’s been really positive. Lots of good discussion and easy to prepare and plan for.”
‘Another said: “I love the format and content. It has started great conversations and helped build faith and confidence in our young people.”’
HOPE’s executive director Roy Crowne said, ‘We are thrilled at the take-up of Mission Academy Live and the positive outcomes. We want to see a new generation of evangelists equipped to make Jesus known. Mission Academy Live is a great springboard as we look to recruit young men and women who will share the gospel relevantly to their generation as part of Advance 2020 (advance2020.org).’
As well as equipping small groups, Mission Academy Live Regional Hubs bring the groups together for evangelistic events. This can be a youth fun day, a worship outreach service, a celebration event, or anything else that offers an evangelistic event for young people to invite their friends. Regional Hubs might also run a ‘support day’ where the small groups can gather to share testimonies as to how God has been using them in the lives of their friends.
In June, the Derby hub held an evangelistic event for each of the young people on Mission Academy Live to bring their friends. Sue Jolly, Centre Director at Burton YFC, said, ‘We had an amazing night! 99 people (including youth leaders) turned up from local churches around us as well as Mission Academy Live churches, and 12 people made a first time commitment along with many more responding to wanting to be bolder for Jesus and receiving prayer.’