How did Blaze start?
In September 2011, a few youth workers in the South East Essex area started asking themselves questions along the lines of ‘my youth group could do with a spiritual boost, are there any churches putting on youth services at the moment?’. Then those youth workers met and started asking each other those questions. Then those youth workers formed a group to pray and to discuss. After a few prayer sessions and a prophecy about a line of gunpowder lighting a fuse, which would create an explosion of God’s presence in the South East Essex area, the Gunpowder Plot was formed.
Who’s behind it?
The Gunpowder Plot consists of around 10 youth workers (some full-time, some part-time, some voluntary), so-called because of the prophecy, not because we have suspicious designs on the Houses of Parliament! Together, we decided that if there wasn’t a monthly inter-church youth event, then it was up to us to start one. And then along came Blaze. We started the first one in March 2012 and have been meeting once a month ever since for worship, fellowship, teaching and prayer. We are supported by and accountable to Love Southend.
Who’s it for?
Any young people aged 11+ and their youth leaders from any faith background. We strongly encourage people to come in groups as we find that where the leaders/helpers go, the youth will follow, especially if they are getting a lift there and back. Blaze is an ecumenical project, with many different denominations represented including: Baptist, Church of England, Elim Pentecostal, Free Church, Methodist, Salvation Army and Vineyard and we welcome more. So far, services have taken place in Central Southend, Leigh on Sea, Westcliff, Rayleigh, Ashingdon, Hawkwell and Rochford; with more in Leigh, Westcliff and Shoebury to come. Wherever you are in South East Essex you are welcome to join us.
What’s Blaze got to do with you?
We would love for your church to be involved with Blaze, our heart for young people is for them to be supported, encouraged and inspired and the more churches and people involved, the bigger the impact on the area. You may only have a few young people in your church, that’s fine! You may have no young people in your church, that’s fine too; we would love for you to pray for us and maybe come and visit anyway just to see what we’re all about. Maybe we could link you up with someone useful, offer some ideas or pray with you. We’re also on the lookout for host churches.
If you would like Blaze to happen in your building, get in touch! The core team can be as involved as you want us to be. We can provide music, lights, people, a PA system etc. It really doesn’t matter where in South Essex you are, what denomination of church, how old your building is or how comfortable your seats are (we usually make people stand up anyway!), we would love to work with you.
What’s our mission?
As Christians we are all part of God’s church and therefore our mission is His mission: to love God, to love each other and to preach the Gospel.