Ten years since Message 2000: What’s next?
Since Message 2000, The Message has been involved with well over a thousand more community action projects in every corner of Greater Manchester.
‘We’ve cleaned and painted and fixed and helped, and as a result, crime has come down, whole areas have been changed, and — yes — we’ve been privileged to have some great opportunities to share our faith’ says Andy Hawthorne.
‘For me the secret to success in any ministry is to genuinely combine word and deed. We have to ditch the dualism that says that it’s only words that matter, or that actions win out every time. We have to have both, because that’s how Jesus did it.’
The latest in this long line of word and deed evangelism projects is this year’s Shine Your Light campaign. This nationwide initiative fronted by Lindz West and LZ7 kicked off earlier this year with the Shine Your Light website. It will continue throughout the summer on a long tour of Christian festivals.
The campaign challenges young people to do fifteen specific acts of kindness for their friends, family and local community, including spending time with the elderly, buying lunch for a homeless person or dropping in a thank you card to the local police station.
After completing each challenge, young people are encouraged to post pictures, videos and stories on the website and Facebook, helping spread the positive and encourage others to do the same. The goal is the same as ever – that these small acts of kindness will point towards a generous God and provide opportunities for the good news.
‘Facebook and social networking give us an unprecedented way of communicating with vast numbers of people,’ comments Andy. ‘They make peer-to-peer evangelism easier than ever before.’
Shine Your Light ties in with a government campaign for young people, Shine Week, running from July 12-16. Over 6,000 school and organisations took part in Shine Week last year, involving nearly 1 million young people, showcasing their talent and putting young people in a positive light. Shine Week’s theme song is none other than LZ7’s This Little Light, which will be released into the UK charts at the end of the summer.
A nationwide competition to create a music video for the expected chart hit is one of the ways young people will be able to engage with Shine Week, bringing many into contact with The Message’s bands for the first time and opening doors for sharing the good news.
‘Shine Your Light and Shine Week really are awesome opportunities for the good news to go further than ever – quickly and relevantly,’ says Andy. ‘This has all the potential to be the biggest thing we’ve ever been involved with.’