Hope Revolution: Engaging young people in a lifestyle of mission

Young people all over the UK are preparing to lead missional activities over the May bank holiday weekend, in the hopes of creating "a riot of love to transform communities for the better".

Hope Revolution is a national movement that aims to harness the "enthusiasm, creativity and passion of a generation of Christian young people" in such a way that trains and releases them to lead culturally relevant missional communities.

It is the youth arm of HOPE, which catalyses opportunities for local churches to reach out and share the Gospel.

"The dream is a generation who put their faith into words and action in every area of life and who inspire their local churches to make a positive difference in their neighbourhood," the team behind the movement say.

One of their main events is The Big Weekender, this year taking place from 3 to 5 May, which will provide the opportunity for young people across the UK to demonstrate the love of Jesus "selflessly and extravagantly" within their communities, serving "through practical acts of kindness [and] putting faith into words and action".

"We'd love to see every youth group in the country doing something creative in word and action as part of The Big Weekender ... and not just joining in, but taking a lead," says Hope Revolution Youth Director Phil Timson.

"We pray that the Big Weekender will see young people uniting together and making some outrageous 'noise' for Jesus, that in our unity God may pour out his blessing on our land."

Hope Revolution operates out of the recognition that every community is different, with differing needs. They provide a framework that can be adapted to suit individual groups, and hope that the weekend will be used as a launch pad for longer-term community engagement by churches.

"Being part of the Hope Revolution is about encouraging young people to live radically, be different and step out of their comfort zones," the website reads.

"Can our nation truly be transformed for Jesus? We believe it can. Not only that, but we believe that young people are at the heart of this and will lead the way."

"The passion of Hope Revolution is ultimately to see young people empowered for mission," Phil shared with Christian Today.

"I spent years as a youth pastor dragging young people out onto the mission field but my passion, and the passion of Hope Revolution, is to see that flipped on its head. To see young people dragging their youth leaders and ministers onto the mission field.

"It is all about enabling young people to be creative, to use their God-given gifts for the Kingdom and to pioneer missional activities, to have a go, to take a risk, to risk failure and just do something new and creative".

Phil also shared his vision for the Big Weekender, labelling it "an excuse to see young people taking the lead in a weekend of mission in their area".

He notes that the scale is not the most important issue at hand, but rather the significance of giving young people space and permission to explore their creativity and bless their communities with the love of God. "If it catches in the area on a wider scale, then great, but the focus is young people at the heart of missional activity, coming up with ideas and developing young leaders," he says.

The vision doesn't stop at the Big Weekender, however. As part of Hope Revolution, 45 Mission Academies have been set up to allow Hope and its partner agencies – including Youth for Christ, Soul Survivor and Tearfund - to invest in young people on a deeper level.

"It's one thing for people to be involved in a one-off mission activity, but our heart is to see young people living it as a lifestyle," Phil explains.

"Our heart is to see young people have this DNA of mission; looking for the God-opportunity to be the love of Jesus every day."

The team hope that the legacy of Hope Revolution will go much further than the work of individual youth groups, ultimately sparking transformation in the wider Church.

"We want to see a generation of young people who naturally challenge and inspire the Church to have an outward-looking agenda," Phil concludes.

"The legacy for this will be young people who have got used to living missionally as a lifestyle and are used to looking for those opportunities every day to love and serve others."

Hope Revolution is hoping for 2,000 areas across the UK to sign up for the Big Weekender. To find out how to get involved, go to www.hope-revolution.com

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