03 July 2014
Church Army launches ONE
Bringing people to a living faith in Christ is at the heart of a new series of testimonies and stories produced by Alliance member, Church Army. Their new ONE series - named after one God, one Church and one mission - celebrates how God is impacting people throughout the UK.
For the past six months the Church Army's communications team have been travelling around the country meeting and filming people who have come to faith through Church Army's work. Over the coming year these films will be published on their website.
Church Army is a mission-focused community of people who are changing lives and communities through the work of evangelists, staff and supporters. They aim to share the Christian faith through word and action in a variety of contexts across the UK and Ireland.
One of the films features Leila, aged 18, who is part of Church Army's Sorted project in Bradford, which is a church run by young people for young people. She has grown up on a council estate in Bradford and the lack of aspiration and opportunities has been tough at times. However, through Sorted she has come to know Jesus and therefore has a new sense of hope and security.
As part of the ONE series, she shared her story: "It's quite tough to be in this area. It's deprived. There's a lot of hate towards people and if you don't fit in you're a target. Sorted is good for this community because it provides many young people who live in deprived areas with the possibility of feeling part of a family. A lot of the families don't have time for you or don't care, or at least they don't show they care.
"At Sorted, they never give up on you; they love you no matter what you do. I gradually came to believe when I came to this project. Before, I used to do everything on impulse. If I had a feeling about something, I'd do it, but now I question more. Then sometimes I ask myself what would Jesus do in this situation?"
David, 18, has also benefited: "I became a Christian about three or four years ago when I started coming to Sorted. I went through a big change with my anger. I had been very, very angry but when the leaders at Sorted prayed for me it calmed my anger.
Church Army youth evangelist Andy Milne leads Sorted which is made up of three fresh expressions of church, two among young people and one among young adults. These three separate churches involve small groups, worship nights and youth clubs.
The idea for Sorted began 12 years ago when Andy and his wife felt God wanted them to set up a youth church. Three years later, at the end of Andy's Church Army training in 2003, they moved back to Bradford, started meeting with churches and began to form Sorted. The big turning point came when they were invited into the local secondary school where they were able to build relationships with young people. It grew from there.
"Over the years we've seen some amazing young people come to Sorted," said Andy. "They are sometimes quite rough and ready when they arrive, not knowing where their life is going and being quite tough nuts. And then we see them open up over time, start to trust us and then open up to Jesus where they have a life-changing experience. That's been the best thing."
More about the Church Army's ONE series