So what is our vision?
Much of what I’m saying here is from our NISCU experience, although you may find it relevant for each of us as Christians, and together as a church… something to think about.
Those of you that have been in and around NISCU for any period of time will know that NISCU’s main aim is:
‘To provide children and young people in education with knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith as presented in the bible, and to support children and young people who choose to express their faith in their community.’
For me the main points of this are to ‘provide’ and to ‘support’. And whilst our schools’ worker team is really good at ‘providing’ the education and understanding, I strongly believe that it is the role of NISCU to work alongside the local church to ‘support’ young people in their community.
The vision that I have for NISCU moving forwards is a bit of a work in progress, It outlines how we as NISCU can serve the local church in offering support more effectively. I call it ‘Act Together’ for two reasons.
The first is a practical point in that it is essential that the church(es) and Christian organisations ‘act together’ to avoid crossover and unnecessary duplication when resources are limited.
An example of this is where one school may have a number of local church leaders taking assemblies, other local church helpers running lunchtime clubs, and NISCU supporting curriculum work within lessons. This is all great for that school. However, a school just a couple of miles down the road may receive very little, or even nothing.
This often happens and is rarely based on a decision taken by churches to try and outdo one another, but simply down to people not knowing what others are doing. It would seem much more reasonable to open a dialogue between schools and churches in order that we may ‘act together’ to help resource more schools so that the children receive an equal level of provision and support regardless of which school they attend.
We as NISCU are continuing to develop our relationships with churches and schools to help resource our schools’ community more effectively. If you or your church would like to be part of that discussion, then please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to come and talk to you more.
The second is that in order to ‘act together’ we need to get our act together. One of the great parts of my role as CEO is being able to see churches and individual Christians coming together to see the job of reaching our children and young people done.
‘How blessed it is when brothers dwell together in unity’ (Ps 133v1)
When I consider the work of NISCU over the past 50 years, I acknowledge and appreciate that we have been able to do all of this simply because of the thousands of people across all church colours and diversity that have deliberately chosen to put any denominational differences aside to support the work. Praise God. Some prayer meetings have been happening for 40 years! Thank you for your faithfulness.
The realistic aspect of my role is that we are sadly struggling to meet the increasing pleas for help from schools. Underfunding of schools means they need more and more help from people like us. We need to find local Christians who are prepared to be ‘Beautiful feet’ in their local schools (see Rom10v15). We as an organisation need to get our ‘act together’ in helping local Christians and churches become more aware of these desperate and immediate needs.
One way we are doing that is by developing our communications networks. We want to enable people across our areas to receive timely information about what we are doing locally. If you want to know more information about how to get weekly prayer bulletins and termly newsletters then have a look on www.niscu.org.uk and choose an area under the ‘areas’ tab.
Supporting children in our Churches
The final crucial demand of ‘act together’ is how so we as local church members help our children and youth in their church context.
The unfortunate sadness across many churches from many denominations and localities is that so many of our children and youth are leaving our church families. We can be disempowered by this, or we can choose to consider how to provide spaces and opportunities that will encourage them to remain in our churches.
One of the unique characteristics of most Christians is that we care. Ironically it is the fact that we care that makes us attractive to young people who live in a world where care is conditional. If you behave this way…you look like this…you talk like this…you have this phone…
The fact that we can care for our children and youth regardless of the ‘if…’ makes us/you different. I don’t know the answers practically how we continue to support our children and youth. I do have a strong conviction that it starts with us praying ‘God show us how we can care for the youth in our area…’
NISCU recently held a week of prayer to start the conversation with God about our youth and children. If you have a successful story of how you are engaging with your youth then please email me so that I can share it with others.
So why are we here?
To provide and to support our children and youth
To see ourselves and local churches acting together in encouraging, enabling and envisioning the next generation of church. To not let the baton fall to the ground in our generation but to get our act together so that this baton may be passed on and taken it further than we have done.
For His kingdom,
For His glory.
Nick is the CEO for NISCU. Email email@example.com