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Scripture Union is making fundamental changes to their range of published resources. The change will take over from the old range of Bible materials in September.

Salt was a range of published resources to help leaders of children’s, youth and all-age church-based ministry to run learning sessions and weekly services. It will be succeeded by Light.

Salt was active since 1984, though Scripture Union has been publishing similar church-based curriculum for over 60 years.

Terry Clutterham, Head of Resource Development for Scripture Union in England and Wales, will be coming to New Zealand for an April 19 and 20 launch of the product in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

“Everything has been newly developed from the ground up. This is not a superficial upgrading of Salt, but a fundamental re-shaping,” Mr Clutterham says.

He explains that Scripture Union believes God is calling the ministry to develop the quality of help it offers churches.

“[Scripture Union’s] help could reach many more churches than it currently does.

“Children and young people learn differently now. Learning resources need to take this into account if they are going to connect and be relevant. The good news of the Lord Jesus remains the same, but ways of learning about it do not.”

He says there is less awareness of the basic facts of the Bible, gospel and Church today.

“Learning resources need to assume less background knowledge than in former years. Fewer people are reading the Bible for themselves. Scripture Union aims to help reverse this trend, starting with the children and young people in Light groups.

“Each age-group set of resources has been developed specifically to be even more appropriate to life in the 21st Century.”

Light still builds on the basics of Bible, gospel, prayer, the Church and the value and role of individuals in it, Mr Clutterham explains, but there is a new three-year syllabus covering more of the Bible and an emphasis on growing disciples of Christ, with more encouragement and help for children and young people to understand the Bible for themselves.

More churches are trying new ways of ministry within their existing structures.

Models of children’s ministry are changing to fit the changing church.

Leaders are asking for more flexibility in published resources.

“Leaders are asking for greater flexibility in published resources, to equip them for the shifting scene. Leaders anticipate more help than ever before from published materials, including downloadable resources from websites and CD-ROMs.”

Scripture Union believes that churches that engage in children’s and youth ministry in an all-age context are regenerating themselves for the future. He says that is why only the best published resources and other kinds of help will do.

“We cannot afford to be half-hearted or problem-orientated about this, but must value these ministries very, very highly. In the right hands, with the right support, the Light range of resources could help turn the tide.”

In the UK, churches have been invited to send representatives to training events during March. They can see Light and help share the gospel with their teams back in their churches.

There is a series of bigger presentation and training events in June and July this year to equip all UK leaders for the change to Light.

Mr Clutterham says that many of these features will be available in New Zealand.

Scripture Union is an international movement that uses the Bible to inspire children, young people and adults to know God.

Scripture Union New Zealand promotes and distributes the curriculum products published in the United Kingdom.

[First published in Challenge Weekly, 2004]

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