Scripture Union only exists because of people like you: faithful Christians, united in heart by the Spirit of God, for His purposes and glory. In this article, State Director / CEO, Andrew McLachlan, encourages us with the Gospel impact SU volunteers are having in people’s lives.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.Ecclesiastes 4:12
Scripture Union has a rich heritage of Gospel proclamation around the world, spanning many generations.
Having had a presence in NSW for over 135 years, I have been reflecting on what unites and defines the SU NSW movement and note three key traits that may resonate with those who, like me, have been touched by one or more SU ministries over their lifetime:
- We hold firmly to the Bible as the Word of God, fully trustworthy and our highest authority for faith and life;
- We are driven by compassion for others, and obedience to Christ, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ; and
- We are intentional, collaborative and organised in our approach to sharing Christ and encouraging people to walk with Him daily.
I believe our greatest strength is our ability to innovate and adapt to a local context whilst staying true to who we are. The SU Aims, Beliefs and Working Principles stand as the core tenants of this, not just in NSW but across the global Scripture Union movement. It means our ministries can be as expansive as the Spirit leads and as creative as God’s people dream. The diversity and growth of camps ministry is a testimony to this.
Across Australia, and within NSW, we have been exploring what it would take to give every child and young person in our nation the opportunity to hear the Good News and have a transforming experience with Jesus. To that end, SU NSW, along with all states and territories, is continuing to investigate how this is best structured and supported across the nation.
Across the state, 190 school groups continue to meet voluntarily around God’s Word each week in either ISCF groups or SUPA Clubs. Our staff team has been helping the volunteer leaders of these groups understand and apply Department of Education policy (that changed at the start of the year), in order to continue facilitating positive relationships with local schools and communities so this vital ministry can continue.
38 missions over summer and 31 camps throughout the year continue to provide a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with kids, through which the love and message of Jesus can be shared. They also continue to be a fantastic training ground for young Christian leaders. We believe these ministries bring the Gospel to thousands of young people who may not have an opportunity to meet Jesus otherwise, and we believe they also play a part in helping NSW churches stay connected to their young people each year.
It means our ministries can be as expansive as the Spirit leads and as creative as God’s people dream.
Our staff team has been reorganised this year, as we seek to both strengthen existing ministries and grow new ones. We now have three regional workers supporting SU ministries within the Sydney metropolitan area (Adam Smyth, Meghann McCloud and Rachel Bemmer), and four staff covering the rest of NSW (Bryce Steep, Dave Tankard, Cheryl Burton and Andrew Parkinson).
As there are large areas to cover and new Gospel opportunities emerging all the time, we are thankful for grant seed funding to support this growth and are trusting that God will provide for these roles as well as further ones into the future.
God-willing, we would love more workers to support volunteers in the Newcastle/Hunter, Wollongong/Illawarra and Sydney regions. Please pray that God would raise up workers and please be encouraged to financially support the work of Scripture Union.
Like the widow in 2 Kings 4, we trust God with what we have, and we gather what we can in order that God might bless us out of His abundance. We have therefore stepped out in faith to upgrade the information and communications systems we use to support volunteers and accommodate new ministries, to more robust systems that empower innovation and efficiency.
Thank you for your support of SU over this past year – whether you have been faithfully praying, giving up your time to volunteer, or giving financially.
We welcome ideas for new ministries. If you have a heart for seeing God’s Good News shared with children and young people, and an idea for doing this, let us know!
Looking Back, looking forward, SU is stronger together
With a sharpened ministry focus, we’ve seen evident ministry growth throughout this past year, praise God!
We partnered with Hope 103.2 to help kids from drought-affected areas get to SU summer camps. People were incredibly generous and over 109 kids were sponsored to go to Outback Adventure Camp and Chaffey Dam Camp!
Ministry staffing increased across rural NSW and Sydney Metro, bolstering our capacity to motivate, train, equip and care for SU volunteers.
New camps, missions and school groups premiered, giving even more kids the opportunity to hear the Good News of the Bible!
New ministry partnerships were forged, including thriving connections with other SU states. Stronger together, our prayer is for greater collaboration and resource-sharing in the future. Our Schools resource CHAT-A-BOX was a hit, with several states ordering copies!
Child protection practices were reviewed. Every parent should feel their child is safe under our care.
We gained accreditation with the CMA Standards Council. Widely recognised, this accreditation will be a powerful tool for us to use, to build trust.
Under God’s mighty hand, we boldly and prayerfully approach the expansion of SU ministries over the coming year.
We aim to develop tools to equip our volunteers to be the strong Christian leaders of tomorrow – empowered, humble leaders, sharing the gospel.
We will explore ways to minister to school-leavers who choose not to go to university.
God-willing, we will see an increase in prayer support to grow local SU activities in communities across rural NSW.
We will continue to build strong relationships between volunteer leaders and the staff team supporting them.
We’re looking for passionate people in rural NSW to start up V.I.P. (Vision, Information and Prayer) gatherings. Interested?Email today, to make an expression of interest or find out more information.