We’re looking for authenticity. Based on the world we know, it’s an obvious response. We’re a generation that is being brought up on viral marketing and celebrity influencers – we know how to weed out the fake from the authentic.
This offers a massive challenge to our faith and the church. We can see when our leaders aren’t invested. We don’t want to be talked down to. We want something that is real and genuine, especially when it comes to faith. We might get distracted by our screens at church or youth group, but is it more that we’re just not being captivated with an authentic, real, inspiring and radical expression of Christianity?
There is no more authentic faith than that of persecuted Christians. When people are abused, threatened, imprisoned, punished, tortured, pushed out and even killed for their love of Jesus, then we know they really, genuinely believe. We know they have something to teach us.
Leah’s story is a case in point. She’s a teenager from Nigeria. In March 2018, she was taken from her school along with over 100 other girls by an Islamic extremist group. After a month, the surviving girls were released – all except one: Leah.
Leah was told she could only go free if she left Christianity and converted to Islam. She didn’t. She chose Jesus over her freedom. Courageously, in the face of threats, violence and captivity, she’s sticking with Jesus, knowing that doing so could cost her everything. Leah sent this message to her mum:
“My God, whom we have been praying to with you, is showing Himself mighty in my trying moment… I am confident that one day I shall see your face again. If not here, then there with our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Leah’s faith is real. It’s not hipster buzz-word authentic. It’s not served with cold-brewed coffee and excessively groomed facial hair. It’s just real. And, in our safe and comfortable walk with Jesus, it challenges us to the very core.
We know our screens get in the way – we spend on average 3.5 hours a day looking at one. We know prayer, reading the Bible and connecting with God are easier when notifications are turned off and screens are shut down. And, the truth is, if we want an authentic, real faith, we have to put in some time with God, praying, reading His Word and living out our faith in community with others.
So, why not do just that? Do something utterly counter cultural and shut down your screens for anything from 6-48 hours. Join the Blackout and get sponsored to go screen free to stand alongside those who are silenced for following Jesus. Be inspired with the authentic, real and brave faith of young persecuted Christians and create space to read the Bible, pray with the persecuted and do small actions that connect you with God and your persecuted family around the world.
“I got to spend loads of time with Jesus without an agenda or distractions… It made me sad that spending time with Jesus gets pushed under all the stuff we have to do, so I’m going to try and make more space for that.”
Ellie, who did Blackout in 2018
Our screens don’t always give us real, authentic connections or experiences. Through social media we see what people want to show us – all filtered, edited and exaggerated. Blackout is a chance to cut through that lens and see a different world – a world where following Jesus takes courage, passion and risk. It’s about switching off to reconnect with the authentic, real story of Jesus and those that are bravely following him.
Join the Blackout. Switch off to stand with silenced, persecuted Christians. Get sponsored to stay off your socials, shut down the Switch or xBox and turn off the TV. Instead, spend time praying for change. Sign up to get a free pack and access to a bunch of helpful downloads…
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.