On Tuesday 29 May, the Uniting Church in Australia started 40 days of prayer to lead up to the 15th Assembly meeting. This week’s reflection features the first and second of these prayers (29 & 30 May).
A movement for the fearless
Posted in Faith
A desire to raise up future generations of Christian leaders has propelled Andy and Lochie Hogarth to think outside the box. Based at Journey Uniting Church, the father and son duo are turning their shared vision into a reality through the new Fearless Youth and Fearless Leaders initiative.
“In our church we are seeing more and more people come to Christ who are the first Christians in their family,” says Andy, the senior minister at Journey.
“Outside of a healthy church committed to investing in teaching and discipleship of these people, we know they will flounder. We want to give this new generation of believers an unshakeable framework of faith that will inspire leadership and action in bringing the gospel.”
This is what Andy hopes Fearless Youth will provide to young people from Journey – and beyond. Launching on Wednesday 19 July at the Golden Grove Recreation Centre, Fearless Youth is a two-day conference designed to disciple and equip young people with biblical teaching and practical discipleship skills they can take into their contexts with confidence in order to share the gospel.
“We had been hearing that our young people wanted to share the message of Jesus with their friends but were unsure how best to approach this. We want to ensure that young people like this know how to answer the tough questions of faith and have a framework for evangelism that is sustainable and culturally relevant,” Andy continues.
“Essentially, this is about building young people into leaders who can set culture rather than bow to it. This is what Fearless Youth is about.”
Immediately following Fearless Youth, another one-day conference will be held on Saturday 22 July. The Fearless Leaders conference will be tailored to leaders of all generations who want to effectively reach and disciple younger generations – particularly those who are working with limited resources or who don’t yet have a youth ministry.
Both of the Fearless conferences can trace their roots to a series of ecumenical worship nights at Journey Youth. After a year of prayer from senior leadership at Journey, these Fearless Nights morphed into something far greater.
“We had such a great response to Fearless Nights and the kids were really leaning in and wanting more, so when Dad started talking about a conference to help raise up young leaders and the traction that conversation was getting with pastors across the country, it felt like a really natural fit,” says Lochie, the Creative Coordinator at Journey.
“What I love about Fearless is that it caters for young people, who are the future of the church, but also reaches church leaders who might not know where to start in raising young leaders, or building a youth ministry, or engaging with today’s culture.”
Journey’s own Pastor Katie Iles will join Pastor Mike Hands of Queensland’s NewLife Uniting Church in presenting at both conferences.
“Mike leads the largest youth and young adult ministry in the Uniting Church and is a fantastic leader. Katie is the worship pastor at Journey and is an exceptional communicator and teacher. Her leadership has taken Journey’s worship into a whole new sphere of culture and expression,” Andy explains.
“Their combined experience in communicating with young people, understanding the building blocks of healthy church and effectively leading multi-generational teams makes them a great fit for Fearless.”
Andy and Lochie are clear that Fearless isn’t about replacing great Christian camps and events that are already happening, but rather they want Fearless to become a springboard for great local church ministries that are truly effective in evangelism and discipleship.
“One of the things our team always says about Fearless is that hosting a great conference isn’t enough. We want to raise up thousands of young interns who want to learn and grow as leaders; we want to raise up hundreds of church pastors, ministers and church planters. Fearless is about building the leaders the church needs to thrive into the future,” says Lochie.
The Fearless vision is to see 5,000 young people growing in faith through internship programs.
“Out of these internships, we want to see 500 people become pastors and ministers to lead, plant and renew churches into 2030 and beyond,” Andy explains.
“We believe God is raising up a generation of young leaders to be fearless in the pursuit of a real relationship with Jesus and to fearlessly follow his call for their lives.”
Afternoon breakout sessions at Fearless Leaders will include teaching and Q&A on calling, spiritual gifting, apologetics, mental health, team building and relating to the community as well as a lunch for those interested in Fearless pathways for internships.
“Rev Prof Andrew Dutney’s recent paper on raising up young ministers, the Uniting Church SA vision for church planting, and the upcoming Uniting Leaders conference are all setting the stage for an exciting future,” says Andy.
“Fearless internships are the fruit of the input from pastors and ministers across a range of congregations in the Uniting Church. Our moderator’s vision of a great tree with many branches for the kingdom, shared last November, is a pretty accurate word from the Lord for our time.
“In Psalm 46 it says ‘we stand fearless’, and that’s the sort of church we want to be a part of.”
Fearless Youth will be held at Golden Grove Recreation and Arts Centre from Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 July, 2017. Fearless Leaders will be held at the same location on Saturday 22 July. Registration is $55 per person for Fearless Youth and $30 for Fearless Leaders. Youth conference delegates receive complimentary registration to Fearless Leaders. For more information about either part of the Fearless conference, please visit journeyuniting.church/fearless-conference or call 8251 7149.
More from Faith
This week's reflection focuses on prayer and God's plans for us.
This week's reflection focuses on the service of volunteers and the need to set aside time to care for others.