Through the years, SYFC has been reaching restless juvenile delinquents, mainstream youths, and now increasingly, youths in specific interest groups like music and sports. The E.D.G.E ministry was birthed out of a desire to find more platforms to reach new niche young people groups.
As we share two current initiatives, thank God with us and pray for us.
Today, each youth grow up possessing a mobile phone. His way of life, social circle, pleasures and even identity are linked to the technology that surrounds him. To engage this generation for the gospel, we have to harness technology.
In recent months, some E.D.G.E staff and volunteers have been conceptualising a new initiative using an interactive, immersive technology. Co-led by ministry leaders, Eric Teo and Richard Tan, work for this outreach project started in early 2018 with the learning of computer coding and game-play designing. Projected to be completed by early 2019, the first Immersive Room event will involve a group of youths in a ‘Multiple Role Playing Game’ (MRPG) solving a murder mystery. Although game-play will take place in one physical room, participants will ‘move through different scenes’. As they interact with the computer-simulated environment, find clues and successfully solve different challenges, they will be levelled up to ‘escape’ from one scene and be virtually ‘transported’ to the next.
In contrast to mass events with heavy manpower, life-size props and a big amount of logistics, the Immersive Room will require much less. Unlike virtual reality (VR) where only one person is engaged, the Immersive Room can host a small group in the same environment at the same time. Though immersive technology is not new on the scene, it is still considered cutting-edge. Given these advantages, the ministry saw its huge potential for evangelism.
Richard was initially hesitant about this project. Dabbling with such costly technology is difficult and “completely new ground” to him. Yet time and again, the Lord provided. An ex-SYFCer generously gave and made this technology available to the team. Different believers also gave financially. Pleasantly surprised through this journey, Richard grew to be affirmed that “this is something God wants us to do”. He is now looking forward “to see what the Lord will do with it” in future.
With her love for dance, Kimberly runs dance workshops and projects for a particular young people niche group and in the course of it, finds that the increased interaction with them through weekly practices provide time for meaningful conversation and friendship building.
She has gotten to know a spectrum of young dancers. One group has no training but only pure enthusiasm, and can be easily engaged by providing opportunities and resources. Her workshops for non-dancers or K-pop enthusiasts dancing to the tunes of their favourite bands is a hit. She also saw opportunities to journey with professionally trained Christian dancers and influence them to learn this art-form from a Christian perspective.
For Kimberly, it is exciting to “do life alongside a young person.” For her, unlike “normal, social activities”, dance creates a “special bond”, a natural setting in which pursuing a common interest together seals the friendship between two strangers. Months ago, a youth who had expressed interest in the gospel suddenly backed away. But in a recent turn of events, she called up Kimberly about a relationship issue. The opportunities to connect with young people through dance can translate into significant teachable moments when they open up about their lives and struggles.
Pray with us that our Immersive Room project will launch off to a good start in 2019, for more staff and volunteers to work alongside Kimberly and for E.D.G.E staff to gain entry into more communities of young people through their interests and pursuits.