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Young people join forces to share Jesus with York

Young people from across York have been working together to spread a message of hope on their city streets ...

Young people from across York worked together at Easter to spread a message of hope on their city streets and in local schools.

Some 30 churches joined together to pray for and support Hope Invasion – a huge, three-week youth mission.

Youth workers, drama groups and live bands have been going into 10 secondary schools for the last two weeks of the school term to lead religious studies lessons for school years 7-9, perform dramas and put on live concerts at lunchtimes.

More than 70 enthusiastic teenagers from the churches dedicated the first two days of their Easter holidays (2-3 April) to go into the city centre, give out freebies, do creative evangelism, chat to other young people and invite them to a massive free concert.

The concert on 4 April was part of a massive youth event held in a central park, with free activities such as a football cage, face painting, gladiator jousting, nail art and a bungee run. The evening gig featured a number of bands including LZ7 and TWELVE24 (above right) from the Message Trust and a local band called This Resistance. It was attended by several hundred young people.

The Archbishop of York gave his support to Hope Invasion, using a video message to encourage young people with these words: “There is hope, and whatever your past, together with God, suddenly everything is possible. I pray that you’ll know that God is close at hand, closer than your own breath, and he will give you the courage to have dreams that will transform not only your lives, but the lives of all those you meet, for the better.”

Caleb Ellwood, HOPE Invasion co-ordinator and youth worker at Gateway Church, said: “We believe we could see a generation living for Jesus in this city. The young people we met were interested in finding out more about this hope we have for the future, and we were so excited to be able to give them an opportunity to explore it further. I was so thrilled to see Christian youth taking risks to reach their friends for Jesus and even more excited when young people made a response to become a follower of Jesus.”

Youth leaders from churches of different denominations meet to pray together regularly, sharing a desire to see the young people of the city encounter Jesus. Hope Invasion is an expression of unity in mission, aiming to give every 11-14 year old in York a chance to hear and respond to the Gospel message.

As the Christian message was presented young people have been invited to attend one of 12 Youth Alpha courses taking place across York in the summer term, giving them a chance to explore the Christian faith further with others their age. So far just over 100 young people have registered their interest in attending a Youth Alpha. 

Hope Invasion is one of many regional mission weeks that are taking place in towns and cities as part of HOPE Revolution, the youth movement of HOPE, encouraging young people to do more in mission, in words and action, together and building to a year of mission in 2014.

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