Since September 2018, we’ve taken Higher to Cambridgeshire and South Wales, rounding out 2018 with four significant Higher missions and our biggest impact to date.
In October we partnered with youth organisations in Cambridgeshire for Higher Cambs 2018, delivering a total of 34 school days and three evening gigs in Ely, St Neots and Cambridge.
‘We witnessed first-hand the blessing that God brings when his people work in unity,’ commented Alan McCormick, chair of the local delivery team and CEO of Mission Direct. ‘We know this is just the beginning. There’s an unprecedented hunger for truth in our culture and it presents such a powerful opportunity for sharing the light of the gospel in dark places.’
In Cambridgeshire, we saw more than 13,000 young people face to face and gave away nearly 800 response packs to new Christians. There were 49 follow-up sessions in place across the region and stories of young people being set free from self-harm and negative behaviour in schools.
Message from a young person:
‘I just got out of your show tonight at Ely Cathedral feeling that I’m loved. I’ve not had the best of lives, many times I’ve wanted to end it all right then and there, but you made me rethink my mistakes. I was crying, really touched by the words that were said. I seriously loved that night so much, it has changed me forever. When Jesus was put on the cross for us, so we don’t have to put the blade to our own skin, that changed me a lot. I don’t know how to thank you enough for tonight.’
November saw Higher in South Wales, with schools visited in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and The Valleys. Our teams Amongst Wolves, BrightLine, Enable, SoulBox and Vital Signs were joined by Social Beingz ( formerly TWELVE24) and Written in Kings, and worked tirelessly to engage school pupils during the day and share the gospel boldly at our evening gigs.
Over the course of the mission, our teams were face to face with more than 17,000 young people in schools and youth groups. Of those, nearly 2,000 came to our gospel-centred gigs, and hundreds chose to commit their lives to Jesus. Across South Wales we had 62 follow-up discipleship groups hosted in local churches – that’s dozens of opportunities for those new Christians to root their faith in healthy, authentic church community.
Message from a young person:
‘You visited my school today and you have helped me so much. When I woke up this morning I didn’t want to get up – I have depression and I am suicidal. When you spoke about Jesus today I started to look at life a different way. I feel so much better about myself – I really do! I don’t feel like hurting myself for I can talk to God and he will help me through everything, no matter what. You have no idea how grateful I am that my life has been changed, literally.’
‘It was an incredible time,’ says Gary Smith, our UK Hubs Director. ‘We had the opportunity in partnership with the Bible Society to produce a special Welsh-language edition of the Higher Bible, featuring our introductory content and the full text of Luke and Acts. It was so significant to be able to share the truth of the gospel without being limited by language – and it was such a blessing that a couple of people from our teams are native Welsh speakers.
‘There was one church leader who, in the build-up to the tour, was hesitant to get involved because they had no young people in their church community. For one of the mission weeks, one of our bands was based in his area and visiting local schools, so we asked if he would be able to put on food for one evening. Generously he offered to feed the team for the whole week – and when the young people in the local area heard that there was a band in town they started to get excited.
‘Fast forward to our Swansea gig – this guy was there with a minibus full of young people from his estate. He saw a number commit their lives to Jesus and now they’ve launched a youth group. Isn’t that amazing?’
Next up for the Higher Tour is Yorkshire in March. We’re working hard behind the scenes building partnerships with schools, local churches and youth organisations to see as many young people as possible encounter the life-transforming message of Jesus.
Beyond Yorkshire, we’re building up to a UK-wide Higher Tour in 2020 as part of Advance 2020.
Find out more about the Higher Tour by heading to highertour.com