Hosted by Pudsey Parish Church, the evening aimed to share the exciting vision for Higher Yorkshire 2019, which will be bringing youth and schools mission to Leeds, Bradford and the surrounding areas. The event featured special guest speakers the Rt Revd Dr Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford (pictured above) and Ben Lawrence, Team Leader of Leeds Faith in Schools, along with Brightline, a Christian indie pop band who performed an energetic worship set.
The Higher Tour, part of the Message Trust family, seeks to boldly proclaim the gospel to young people and see them supported and encouraged as they start their journey of faith alongside the local church. This is done by a missionary team travelling to a particular area of the country and spending days in schools, taking lessons and assemblies, representing the Christian faith clearly and authentically in an educational context. Following the schools’ days evangelistic gigs then take place with young people and their friends invited to hear a clear presentation of the gospel and an opportunity to respond and be connected to a church.
As a result of previous Higher Tours there has been almost 10,000 first time decisions to follow Jesus made by both young people and teachers. Hundreds of new Christian Unions have also started in schools, with many churches now engaging with young people in discipleship programmes and forming new youth groups because of the work started by the Higher Tour.
Arani Sen, Vicar of Christ Church, Upper Armley in Leeds, said, “I attended the launch of the Higher Tour at Pudsey Parish Church. The evening was awe-inspiring, as the Message Trust seek to bring the transformation love and hope of Jesus to local schools, in Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield. The lively band Brightside, the testimonies and film clips were inspiartional. This is a real opportunity to impact the young people of this Diocese powerfully with Jesus’ transforming love.”
Nathanael Poole, Assistant Curate of St John's, Great Horton and St Wilfred's, Lidget Green who attended the event said, "The evening was exceptional. The Message Trust are at the cutting edge of youth evangelism and discipleship. I was particularly impressed with the consistent message, that it was not just decisions they were seeking, but disciples.
"The band, Brightline, were seriously cool, bringing 80's vibes mixed with Hip Hop and Soul. I am filled with expectation to see what the Lord might do through the Higher Tour in Bradford and Leeds."
Another attendee, the Revd Philip Arnold of Calverley said, "it was exciting to see Christians from different churches come together from across Leeds and Bradford. Our young people loved it and are now looking forward to the Higher Tour coming to their school in March."
Dawn Savidge, Children, Young People and Families Team Member, also commented, "I am so excited about the Higher Tour coming to our diocese. It creates a moment where young people can make a decision to follow Jesus. The Higher Tour is all about raising a generation of culture-shifting disciples and I am so excited to see what God is doing in this area."
Further events planned as part of Higher Yorkshire 2019 include a West Yorkshire Youth Conference on Saturday 26th January, which is the landmark event and a day for youth leaders and young people to be inspired and equipped to share the gospel with their friends.