Lay Down Your Weapons - The Message
17 Jun 2022

Lay Down Your Weapons

Almost every week, headlines are filled with news of people being seriously injured or killed by knife crime. Never wanting to shy away from the tough things that are impacting young lives, we know something has to change, so we are in schools telling young people there is another way.

It’s hard to wrap your head around the shift that’s happened. Only a few years ago, stories of knife crime were rare, but today young people from all walks of life are choosing to carry knives and it’s increasingly becoming an accepted part of their lives. The impact this can have – not only physically, but mentally – is devastating.

The No More Knives tour is seeking to change culture, highlighting the dangers of knives and equipping young people to say ‘no’ to them. Initially started by Mo Timbo in Hull, the tour now sees our mission teams heading into schools with special guests including Mo, Mark Bracewell and Jorge Herrera and local police forces, to take over lessons and assemblies. As they listen to powerful stories of the life-threatening impact knife crime has, as well as music from our bands, stats and presentations, teenagers’ eyes are being opened to the dangers they face, and their attitudes to knives are changing.

After one lesson, a girl came up to the team and asked them how she could get rid of a knife she’d been carrying for a friend. After bravely chatting with her teacher, she became part of the solution.

And that’s not the only time we’ve seen knives handed in. After another lesson, one student left their knife under their seat! The knife was found and handed straight to teachers. Chatting with the school staff, they said that they were shocked the student had handed the knife in as he’d been involved in knife crime in the past and grown up in a turbulent household. However, after taking part in the lesson, he decided to say ‘no’ to knives and choose a different path!

‘He decided to say “no” to knife crime and choose a different path’

But the tour is not just about ridding our streets of knives, it’s about helping young people discover their full value too.

This is why throughout every lesson we’re sharing the hope of Jesus and inviting students to an end-of-week gig.

As the students head to the gigs with their mates, they get to hear more music from the bands they’ve seen in lessons, but more than that, they get to hear about how loved they are by Jesus and that they can find their full identity in him and not knives.

We’ve seen hundreds of young people respond as they’ve heard the gospel at these gigs. And because we want every decision to turn into lifelong discipleship, young people are immediately connected with local churches. One church saw 68 new young people come along to their youth service the Sunday after a gig – how exciting is that!

Jade is one of those who’s seen the No More Knives tour in school and came along at the end of the week. As she heard Sammy from SoulBox sharing about the love and hope Jesus offers, she listened to every word and put her hand in the air to respond. After the gig, she bumped into former Message Academy student and now Saintz band member, Destiny, and told her how excited she was to have found new life in Jesus. As she started to share about what was going on in her life, Destiny got to pray with her, encouraging her in her new walk with Jesus.

And it’s not just the lives of young people being transformed, but parents too! Recently, a dad brought his child along to a gig and whilst waiting for them in the parents’ lounge heard the gospel and responded to it too!

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Find out more about the No More Knives tour and how to bring it to a school near you at message.org.uk/nomoreknives