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The Ascent: A Passionate Journey

Author: Kathleen Swift

Picture: www.theascentuk.co.uk

The Ascent: A Passionate Journey

“theASCENT is a discipleship process for years 10-13 that aims to raise up a prophetic and passionate generation that are intent on serving Jesus in their localities.”


The aim of ‘rais(ing) up a prophetic and passionate generation’ may be huge, but it’s not scary. We have the beauty of the process. Most importantly, the Author of Life is on our side.

 

So many, like me, have experienced the ‘conference Christian’ lifestyle of waiting for a ‘spiritual top-up’, followed by a gradual decline of faith.

 

Whilst mountain top experiences with God are an important launchpad for discipleship, it is process which is so important in charismatic youth ministry and keeps people growing.

 

For three weekends a year over three years, and an online weekly meeting, theASCENT process enables us to grow, learn, stumble and get back up.

 

It gives the process breathing space, meaning the good news is given sufficient time and importance, without pressure or haste. We have time to form real relationship with young people.

 

Family And Hope

Welcoming a new group of 15-18 years olds to Brentwood, I focused on two things: family and hope.

I wanted them to be excited and hopeful because they will receive teaching on a range of topics, such as the Bible, Theology of the body and Social Justice. Every weekend also includes a 24/7 Eucharistic prayer room, an exhortation from a visiting speaker and ministry time.

 

I also knew they should have hope because I witnessed God’s awesome work.

 

In the very first weekend of theASCENT, I felt out of my depth.  It was a new ministry style, without a full curriculum plan. Moreover, most of us had never had an online video meeting, so how could we possibly make that environment a prayerful discipleship group?

 

Fortunately, theASCENT pioneer Will Desmond surrounded himself with experienced team members (and a few of us fledglings) who committed to a three year process.

 

Four years on, most of that team are still involved. The young people and their parents placed a huge amount of trust in this new ministry back in 2013.

 

Nine weekends and three school years later, this group of young people, who did not really know each other, blossomed into a family. 

 

Friendships Of Faith

 

I had sometimes cynically doubted this would happen. However, God is always faithful to His promises, and faithfully gathered these young people to form friendships of faith.

 

What does it mean for young people to “serve Jesus in their localities”?  Some have joined theASCENT team in Wigton, where another cohort is following theASCENT process. Others have joined communities, serve at conferences, and help plan Charismatic Renewal events.

 

Our dream is that these young people make a real change in their localities.

 

Research showed that twice as many young people shared their faith weekly than before the process, and 5 times as many shared their faith daily.

 

We have also seen an increase in welcomers, readers and Eucharistic ministers in parishes. Some help with confirmation groups, school chaplaincy teams or start school prayer groups.

 

Grow And Blossom

 

They all graduated theASCENT having ministered so much to each other and the team. Moreover, I believe these graduates had discovered who God had called them to be.

 

Four years ago, when Will Desmond received a vision to start theASCENT, few could have predicted that this process would grow and blossom, with over 100 young people in the journey-a number which is still growing.

 

Perhaps the Lord is calling you, or someone you know, to get involved with theASCENT?

 

  • If you wish to become a benefactor in the “Big 100” Campaign to support theASCENT financially, please visit their website: www.theascentuk.co.uk

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