God, struggling together
Revolution: Inverness UK
Lindsey Howie and Dave Saunders Interviewed by Richard
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.
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
DAVE: Call themselves Christians?
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
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
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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