When I joined Kick London in November 2014 I had to write a fundraising strategy. In doing this you are meant to ask yourself the above 3 questions. So I thought our problem is that children and young people have stopped coming to church in their droves. Today 85% of children in the UK don’t step foot inside a church. In the Church of England of those who do attend – you are more likely to have survived the Titanic than survive being at church from childhood to adulthood.
Having prayed about what God wanted us to do we felt He gave us John 9:4 – Jesus said “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” There is a window of time to reach these young people this is our problem.
So what’s our solution to this? Well, we need to go out to them, build relationship and invite them to church. 99.7% of young people are in school – that is where they are. Of the 10 million school-aged children in the UK only 460,000 attend church on a Sunday but 3.3 million play sport on a Sunday. Therefore we need to talk their agenda – sport and why can’t we offer young people both sport and church at the weekend.
So we go into schools offering PE National Curriculum, Street Dance and Mentoring provision to engage these kids. All our sessions have a Christian values application such as perseverance, integrity and joy. We are then able to enable local churches to offer extended sport or dance provision at the weekend at a time which complements church. The young people receive coaching, linked to a theme, with an inspirational thought from the Bible at the break before they play matches or if a dance Academy they do routines.
It has been our testimony that “God’s work, when done in God’s way, never lacks God’s resources” (Chesterton). In the past 2 years we have seen engagement with our young people grow from 2,500 to 6,300 every week in schools. Our coaches are delivering professional services in 43 schools across London with 25 church based Kick Academies engaging their local young people. We have seen 10% of these young people engage in church through the Kick Academies.
The provision is now across 21 Boroughs in London – as far North as Muswell Hill, far South as Epsom, as far West as Sunbury and as far East as Dartford. We want to be ready to continue to grow to meet this problem but we also want to be led by the Lord. It has been a conviction for us as an organisation to sow to alive and not dead works because 1 Cors 3:6 “I, Paul plant, Apollo’s waters, but only God grows.” We want God to do the growth so that a generation of young people are not lost.
Joe Lowther, CEO of Kick London