Since its inception in 1867, Scripture Union has grown from a small ministry in one country, to an international movement with 130 National Movements, over 2,040 staff, and thousands of volunteers. Throughout its history, Scripture Union’s mission has been: a) making God’s Good News known to children and youth, and b) helping people of all ages meet God through the Bible and prayer.
The world is changing rapidly particularly in the areas of social, political, technological, and economic realities. It has become increasingly difficult for people to have confidence in public leaders who often lack integrity. Many countries are rife with corruption. Inevitably, the greatest impact of these conditions is on children and young people and others who are the most vulnerable in society.
Due to the nature of these changes, there has been a growing awareness that hope and hopelessness is one the most pressing issues for children and young people with whom we minister. This is particularly true for children who live daily with the risks related to volatile political and economic situations. The most significant question for them is, ‘where can they find hope in such desperate situations?’. We also know that hopelessness is not just confined to countries that are economically poorer. We see the same desperation in the eyes of young people in wealthier nations who are crippled by the incredible pressure on them to achieve. If there is any hope of transforming these situations, we need the children and young people of this generation to be people of integrity and hope.
Due to the indigenous nature of SU’s leadership, our leaders too, are impacted by these situations. Therefore the significant issue for us is, how to be people of hope in the surrounding darkness; how can we be leaders who bring hope to this generation?
As we considered how, as a global movement, we might address these issues, the plan for Living Hope emerged. This was inspired by the vision statement of SU Africa – ‘children and young people, following Jesus, filled with hope, and transforming the families and nations of Africa’. Living Hope is designed to help the community of SU listen to God, to discover more about hope and hopelessness, and to make strategic plans for bringing hope to a young generation.
The Living Hope Initiative
Living Hope is a global ministry initiative in three phases involving SU Movements right around the world.
Phase 1 – In the first six months of 2012, SU staff and volunteers will be meeting with groups of children and young people to listen and discover more about what makes them hopeful and what are the areas of hopelessness. This will provide a wonderful opportunity for children and young people to be heard and ministered to, a rare opportunity for some. It will also provide an opportunity for those who are already involved in ministry to consider how they might prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable. The information gathered will be collated for consideration in Phase 2 in November 2012.
Phase 2 – A strategically selected group of SU’s key leaders gathered in Malaysia, 5-9 November, to reflect on the theme of hope, in God’s Word, and consider the information gathered from across the globe, in the context of ‘A Changing World’, God’s Mission, and SU’s Mission. This included input from a group of selected young leaders under the age of 30 with a significant number coming from Africa due to the large number of Movements there. Other SU staff and volunteers around the world also participated in the Malaysia gathering, through discussion forums held in their locations during this week and the streaming of sessions on the Living Hope website. During this week, key global priorities were identified.
Phase 3 – During 2013-2014, we will consider strategies for the future, and begin implementation of plans for the years leading up to our 150th Anniversary in 2017. Due to our concern to hear the voice of youth and those living in challenging situations, a select group of the young leaders who were involved in the Malaysia event will help formulate these strategies.
Living Hope is an exciting opportunity and the largest initiative ever undertaken by the SU global community.
Expectations/Outcomes of Living Hope
The expectations and outcomes of Living Hope include:
- Enhanced understanding of the causes of hope and hopelessness in the contexts in which we minister,
- Identification of new opportunities for ministry to children and young people and particularly those at risk,
- Development of young leaders who will shape the ministry of SU and lead with integrity and hope,
- A clear global SU vision and enhanced structure for support,
- And most importantly, children and young people, following Jesus, filled with hope, who will play a part in transforming their nations.
National Movements and Regions will be carrying a considerable portion of the costs of this initiative. Our desire is to have every Movement represented, both in Phase 1 and 3 and in Malaysia, so as to ensure this is truly an international process. We have chosen Malaysia, as it is one of the most central, accessible and cost effective locations for such a gathering. We are particularly concerned in this process, to support those from Africa, South Asia and Latin America, who simply do not have the financial resources to participate. We wish to ensure that their voices are heard, and that they have every opportunity to be involved and contribute to the process. It is for these Movements mainly that we are seeking to raise funds.
|LIVING HOPE BUDGET||2011 US$||2012 US$||2013 US$||Total US$|
|Communications & Preparation||$40,960||$28,160||$69,120|
|Community Listening, Research & Compilation||$14,400||$29,600||$44,000|
|Living Hope Event – Accommodation, Travel etc.||$1,600||$259,598||$361,198|
|Living Hope Event – Program costs||$64,326||$64,326|
|Follow Up & Strategy Development||$32,000||$32,000|
|Regional / Participant Contributions||$179,255||$179,255|
|Donations Received / Promised at Feb 2012||$23,100||$3,080||$26,180|
|Challenge Matching Grant Received||$105,000||$105,000|
|Net Funding Required by SUI at Feb 2012||$0||$162,269||$32,000||$194,269|
A challenge matching grant has been granted by a trust in the USA and must be matched by September 2012.
Scripture Union will celebrate its 150th Anniversary in 2017. Our hope and prayer is that God will use Living Hope to guide and empower us to more effectively accomplish His purposes in the new century.