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Experiencing God, struggling together
Revolution: Inverness UK
Lindsey Howie and Dave Saunders Interviewed by Richard Bromley
[05.06]

RICHARD: Can you give a bit of background as to how Revolution started and why?

DAVE: It pretty much stemmed out of relationships really I think because we have a project called Street Base, which is doing work with people in schools, like revision. Street Space is where we are telling them about Jesus, where they are, and from existing relationships. We’ve got a Rock Solid group going there and we saw the fruit from that. We didn’t know where to place the young people because they didn’t fit into the convention of churches, these are un-churched kids.

LINDSEY: The church in Inverness is quite traditional, formal and middle class. These kids are none of these things. We talked to lots of churches and there was no church that was willing or ready to take on a group of wild young people.

RICHARD: What sort of permission did you gain or did you just do it as an Organisation?

DAVE: We work with a local Methodist church and the minister there is an absolutely amazing bloke. He opened his doors of the church and allowed us to bring these young people into the building and do what we wanted with them basically.

RICHARD: Tell us a bit about what you do with them?

DAVE: Revolution developed from a drop in café which we started, where the kids just came in, relaxed a bit, played pool or football or whatever. We then had a kind of a God slot this was all developed because of the relationships in school. It wasn’t just a Sunday night thing it was more a wider picture of like Street Base, so it’s developed from that and now it’s this. We did an Alpha course for how many weeks?

LINDSEY: 10 weeks.

DAVE: 10 weeks and from that it was kind of like a mixture of feelings. There was a group of people that couldn’t really hack the deepness of the Alpha course, but there was another group young people that wanted to go further with the Alpha Course and further with God, so now we have one week which is completely based on social, more like the youth café that we had in the past and then one week is completely deep. We call it ‘Deep’ which is more like the Alpha Course, it’s more exploring about God and Christianity.

RICHARD: This has been termed a ‘youth congregation’ or seen by others as ‘youth church’ almost how do you see it?

DAVE: A community, if there was one word that I would see these young people as it is community. It’s amazing because the effect that the social has had on the ‘Deep’ is awesome because the kids that go to the ‘Deep’ also go to the social and they affect the other ones that don’t go to the ‘Deep’.

RICHARD: Is there any expectation that at some point you join the inherited church structures or is this for the kid’s church?

DAVE: Good question. I think, I’m almost like certain that church is about family and I don’t know, I’m not too sure about separating the young people from the existing congregation and there never ever being a link up. It should be family, they should be together, people worship in different ways so at the moment we’re developing having a family services once a month. This is just developing at the moment. This is where our young people from Revolution can show how they worship to the existing generation. Another thing we’re talking about at the moment is, we’re passionate about getting the existing congregation to pray for the new generation that is coming out, so this is in the developing stage.

RICHARD: What are the tensions that you’ve felt in doing this?

LINDSEY: I think one of the challenges has been that we are, at heart, an evangelistic organisation and as much as we want to build disciples we now have a pastoral responsibility to these young people, as we are their church leaders and Dave in particular as he is their leader. We are struggling with that working out our time, our schedule, how do we pastor them? We are getting involved now with their families so that creates issues in itself as to how we reach them and it’s not because we are a community, we see these young people every day we live out our faith with them, we’re experiencing God, they’re experiencing spiritual things, so we’re struggling together now to see how does that work? How does that develop from here? So there have been challenges of other people’s opinions from the town as well as people’s ideas of what we are doing, generally I think we’ve been accepted.

DAVE: Definitely

RICHARD: What have been the things that have made this work well?

DAVE: Risk I suppose and I think the relationships we have with the young people because it’s not just an hour a week that we have with them, it’s constant. So if a young person has a God experience on a Sunday night it’s not like we have to quickly rush and chat to them and explain what that means in a couple of minutes, we know them, we will see them the next day, we’ll see them the next day after that and it’s relationship.

RICHARD: How many of these kids would call themselves Christian?

DAVE: We get about 20 to 30 come to Revolution and I’d say probably 5 to 7 would call themselves Christian.

LINDSEY: No more than that I would think, quite a lot more than that.

DAVE: Call themselves Christians?

LINDSEY: Yes

DAVE: How many

LINDSEY: 10-15

RICHARD: So membership is about being part of the family or the community you talk around, rather than any kind of creedal of ‘I’ve come to faith’. It’s not like you join a Methodist church and get on the register.

LINDSEY: They come and they still experience God and they still take part in the worship and they are still very much apart of it, so it is actually hard to say how many of them would call themselves Christian because a lot of them are actively involved spirituality, so it’s hard to decide.

RICHARD: Yes I realise, as I chose the language I thought that’s a hard question to answer. What are the two challenges you reckon you are going to face in the next couple of years?

DAVE: Probably as the young people get older and leave school because of its relational relationship. We work in the school so what do we do when they leave the school? How do we keep that relationship going? Do they stay with Revolution or what happens when they go to University?

LINDSEY: One of the challenges I think is developing them as young leaders to take on the church and lead it themselves. They’re already very involved in it and I think that is one reason why it successful. We are learning together how to be church; it’s not us telling them, it’s very much them leading us. We lead together. We all sit on the floor together. It’s very much like that and I think one of the challenges is helping them to grow, become leaders so they can lead the whole thing forward.

RICHARD: The last question, what is the worship like?

LINDSEY: That’s the best bit of Revolution.

DAVE: Well the worship has developed just like everything else in Revolution. Well one thing we did and we still do this, we got a sponge and put it in some water and squeezing it out as a symbol, I can’t what the point was!

LINDSEY: being cleansed by God.

DAVE: being cleansed by God. We have silent worship literally we just sit in silence and reflect on what God is saying or DJ worship. We sometimes just play some tunes and see what God has to say.

LINDSEY: We’ve never ever done singing with them. Worship has always been about, small group work and some expression. They’ll express themselves to God. Silence actually works remarkably well with this type of young person and God’s Holy Spirit often turns up and does something. We then, we’ll quite often have something symbolic but we’ve never sung with them once.

DAVE: The thing is I think it is like giving God the space because there are no frills to it. There’s kind of no lardy dar, no guitar tuning in the background. It’s like God, we expect you to move in these young people and God speaks to them.

RICHARD: Excellent, that’s really helpful.

 

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