The Uprising took place about a week and a half ago, on both Friday and Sunday.
No, it wasn’t a coup, or a fight, or an armed struggle.
It’s what Urban Life Church calls their services when the youth are the leaders. It is an uprising of talent, of confidence, of building up leaders, of uniting the church across ages, of uplifting the gifts of the next generation.
For some background, Urban Life is a non-denominational church in Midrand, South Africa. There are three main sites – the Midrand campus, the Thatchfield campus (which meets in a school), and the Centurion campus (which meets in a 150ish person gathering room of a coffee shop). The three campuses have different make-ups, as well: the Midrand campus is very mixed, Thatchfield is predominantly black (but from different places, language groups, and ethnicities), and Centurion is largely white. (We haven’t been a service at Centurion yet, but this is what people say about it.)
“Preaches”, or sermons, last about half an hour.
At The Uprising, four youths are given seven minutes to preach (four preach at Midrand, four at Thatchfield, and four at Centurion). This time they preached on the theme “Battle for My Heart”, specifically battles they have faced as young people. They talked about things like depression, the need for community and fitting in, desire for approval, and doubt. The congregation was engaged – not just because it was cool to have youth preaching, but because the messages they delivered were touching and relatable.
But they didn’t just get up there and preach.
For a couple of weeks prior to the preaches, the youths sat and talked with the lead elder at their church site. They talked about the preaches, the topic, and even practice preached in the worship venue and received feedback. (Katie and I sat in on one of the practice sessions and offered advice and encouragement to the young preachers, which was awesome.)
Youth led the announcements, some sung in the band, and generally helped the service happen.
The intention behind what they were doing was awesome to see.
The Uprising is here. The youth are growing, changing, learning, deepening their faith and leadership and becoming the church of today and tomorrow. What a wonderful thing to be a part of!