THE CHALLENGE: to put the gospel of Jesus into the hand of every teenager in York.
We started to pray and to cut a long story short, FUSE WAS BIRTHED!
THE BACKGROUND BEHIND FUSE
FUSE was commissioned by One Voice York, a gathering of Christian leaders from across the city which meets weekly to pray. In 2004, they felt that there needed to be some kind of co-ordinated evangelistic outreach aimed at teenagers in our city, and approached a group of youth workers with a challenge: to put the gospel of Jesus into the hand of every teenager in York. We started to pray and to cut a long story short, FUSE was birthed.
WHAT IS FUSE?
1. THE FUSE NIGHT
FUSE started off initially with a bi-monthly café style club event, featuring live bands, a DJ, a café and a prayer room. The aim was to provide a safe place where young people could hang out, and in particular where young Christians would be able to share their faith with their non Christians friends in a non-threatening environment. This event still exists and it is called the FUSE Night. It regularly attracts around 150-200 young people many of whom are not Christians and now features an entire area devoted to prayer and discussion based around NOOMA films. As well as giving non-Christian teenagers the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about Jesus, these nights provide a platform for youth bands from across the city to play, and encourage Christian young people to serve and to be comfortable in sharing their faith with their friends.
2. THE FUSE GATHERING
To complement the FUSE night we created the FUSE Gathering, providing teenagers with the opportunity to meet other Christians from across the city and beyond, to go deeper with the Lord, to pray together for the vision of FUSE and entreat God for change in the city. FUSE Gatherings take place bimonthly, two weeks before every FUSE night, and aim to inspire, encourage and equip York¹s Christian teenagers to let the light of Christ shine amongst their peers. The nights have proved to be an effective challenge to these young people to take seriously their part in God¹s wider mission in York.
3. THE FUSE NETWORK
The FUSE Network aims to bring together youth leaders and youth workers from across the city to pray, build relationships, and provide support for one another. The network fosters shared vision and a collaborative approach to youth work in York, not least for FUSE events which could not take place without the joint effort of many workers and volunteers. The Network meets weekly to pray for youth of the city, individual people¹s work, and the vision of FUSE, as well as joining with other Christian leaders at the monthly youth-focused One Voice prayer meeting. We believe that good relationships enable ministry to be birthed, and that it is our unity that will cause us to truly impact this city for God (John 17:20-23).
4. THE ‘UP and COMING’ FUSE CAFE
A recent and exciting development in the FUSE initiative is that we have been given use of a city-centre building which will house the FUSE café. The café is in development, but the plan to begin with is to have it open a couple of evenings a week, with a view to growth as it becomes established.
We see great potential for the café in building community amongst the Christian young people of York, and investing in relationships formed and nurtured at other FUSE events. Of course, it also provides another environment in which Christian teenagers can share their faith with their friends.
So what is our dream for the future concerning FUSE? It is nothing less than a vision of revival. Our hope is to ignite a movement of teenagers in this city who are totally in love with Jesus and willing to go against the tide of their culture to be a part of God¹s kingdom and mission in York and beyond. We want to see Christian teenagers completely sold out for God, countless young people giving their lives to Christ, schools transformed from the inside out, churches growing. We want to see young people taking ownership of their faith and starting their own ministries and projects in the city. We want to see York as a hub from which young missionaries are sent out into the UK and the rest of the world. We want people around the country to be asking what¹s going on in York?
HOW WILL THIS HAPPEN?
It is already happening. Attendance at the FUSE Nights grew throughout 2006, with growing interest from across the city and beyond, and several young people committed their lives to Christ. The FUSE Gatherings now attract a core group of Christian teenagers from churches and youth groups across the city, passionate about affecting change for God in York. This group represents nearly every secondary school in the city; 2006 saw groups praying for their schools and colleges, CU groups set up and growing, and outreaches such as youth alpha run. God has brought together a core team of like-minded youth workers to head up FUSE, and is building and fostering relationships and unity amongst leaders and young people across the city.
The coming year holds amazing potential for FUSE as we see the fruit of all that happened in 2006. We want to see FUSE Nights regularly attracting well over 500 young people each night, FUSE Gatherings representing the army of Christian teenagers in York in its entirety, the FUSE Café as a central meeting point for young people across the city and most importantly the youth of York being transformed as a result.
But it is not a case of some events being put on by a small team. FUSE can only exist as a city-wide collaboration amongst youth workers, young people, and Christian leaders across York. We are convinced that the key to seeing the change we hope for is in an increase in unity and shared vision by working together and being friends.
This doesn¹t mean scrapping your youth groups. It just means working together a bit more and fuelling a movement. As individual groups grow, so the overall movement will gain momentum; as the movement gains momentum, so individual groups will grow. The best people to reach young people are young people themselves. By working together and developing more discipleship resources and environments for growth, we believe that FUSE will end up being led by the young people themselves.
FUSE offers a connecting point for people all over the city young people and youth workers alike with established events, an increasing number of people involved, new ministries being set up and the potential for amazing growth. We are asking you to stand with us and work out the implications and application of this vision in York. It will only happen if we are on the same page and begin to be more intentional about how we shape the future.
Will you join us? Will you help us shape this vision and diversify it?