By Alison Kernohan: Youth & Schools Outreach Coordinator
Two thousand and nineteen is a significant year for LMI as it marks the 30th birthday of the Youth & Schools Outreach Department. That’s three decades of school visits, youth meetings and outreach programmes, and as a result, over 112,000 young people who have heard our teams down through the years. Not only that, but through special distribution projects, over 25,000 Jesus videos, thousands of Jesus magazines, in excess of 7,000 copies of Seriously Rich by Richard Pidgley, and hundreds of copies of Made to be Me by Shell Perris, were given to pupils free of charge in addition to other Christian literature.
The very first school visit took place on 17th October 1989 when Thomas McClean (LMI Co-Founder and Director) and two LMI volunteers visited Glengormley High School – the rest, as they say, is history!
It is because of God’s grace and faithfulness that the Youth & Schools Outreach is continuing to thrive, with new schools Information being visited every year and thousands of young people experiencing one of LMI’s unique programmes. In 2018 we spoke to 5531 young people across a mixture of school visits and church events. We also took 100 RE classes and 43 SU group sessions.
The strapline for the Youth & Schools Outreach Work is:
All our RE class programmes link with the Northern Ireland Religious Education curriculum and we create everything in-house. In addition, because of the generosity of LMI’s supporters, all our youth and schools work is provided free of charge!
One of our most popular RE class programmes is ‘Kingdom Stories’, in which we talk about the parables of Jesus and explore in detail the story of The Prodigal Son. The pupils engage well and I love to see them really begin to understand the meaning of the parable.
Our SU group programmes can be delivered over one or three weeks, with the latter option providing a great opportunity to delve deeper into a topic. One of our most popular topics for SU groups is ‘Choose Wisely’, in which we challenge young people to think seriously about their choices and to base them on God’s word. It is a real joy and privilege to watch young people interact and enjoy one of our presentations, and the SU groups always love our game at the end!
The pressures and challenges that young people face in 2019 are different from 1989, but we are acutely aware that this generation still needs to hear about how God sees them, and how there is love, joy, forgiveness and hope available through a relationship with God. One young person from Breda Academy who listened to our RE class presentation on ‘Identity’ in September 2018 said, “I have learnt that even if no one else sees me, God sees me.” How incredible that a 16-year old girl is discovering (potentially for the first time) that she matters to God! This is why the youth and schools work is a vital part of LMI’s ministry, and an essential outworking of the mission’s motto: ‘We want the world to know Jesus.’
Our hope for the future is to visit more schools and churches, to continue to develop high quality programmes and to challenge young people to think more deeply about the Christian faith. To achieve all of this we need more staff to join our team. If you, or someone you know, has a passion to work with young people, and would like to use their skills to serve Christ, please get in touch.
Week of Prayer
Prayer is a crucial part of the youth and schools outreach work, and to mark our birthday milestone we are holding a special week of prayer that will commence on Monday 11th March. We want to thank God for the last thirty years and seek His guidance and help in the months and years ahead. You can now download a poster to help you as you pray with us. You can also follow along on our social media channels. We would be so grateful if you could stand with us in this prayer initiative.
Thank you for your interest in and support of LMI’s Youth & Schools Outreach. I hope you are encouraged by the many opportunities we have to impact young people, and that you realise that your partnership is essential to the continuation of this important work.
- on behalf of LMI’s Youth & Schools Outreach Team
The current YSO team (from left to right): Alan, Becky, Catalin, Alison and Danny