UBM – a wide open ministry
‘There is no one at our church young enough to go on a beach mission’, is a common misapprehension voiced in churches today. But beach missions are not only for youngsters. God doesn’t just use those in the prime of life to evangelise. People of all ages take holidays on the coast and UBM reaches out to them all.
Similarly, many assume that UBM is just for the physically fit. Certainly a beach team cannot function without some who are young, fit and healthy, but one of the blessings of UBM is that we can accept members that others cannot. No rigorous medicals are required; no foreign language preparation; only a heart for the lost and a love for the Saviour.
Several ‘UBMers’ are disabled badge holders or have medical issues preventing them from going abroad, but these are just the people needed to reach out in a holiday setting. All need a Saviour, not just children; and only a well balanced team can relate effectively to all the people we meet.
Perhaps the largest group that assume a beach mission isn’t for them are the army of mums and dads with young children. This is exactly the age group we are most likely to find on a beach.
Ironically, mums and dads may have been on teams as young Christian singles or even met their partner as they evangelised together on the beaches. Once married with children, however, the dropout rate increases exponentially. It’s hard for a mum to be left on her own with the children while dad goes off for a week on a beach mission.
The thought of sleeping on church hall floors is enough to put some students off, let alone those with toddlers, a young family, or health issues. Some manage to find holiday accommodation nearby, but financial cost may be a problem.
In some churches there are rooms where a family could stay; but it is still a sacrifice to give up some family holiday to share the gospel on a beach.
This is a problem that UBM is beginning to address. Our first small steps are to acquire some of our own properties. In St Ives we have a family room and caravan for older team members or those with young families. In Llandudno we have plans for a major refurbishment of a house, providing facilities for those who need to sleep separately. But in most resorts the options are limited.
There is so much more that supporters can do beyond the obvious need to give and pray. If you have a holiday home near a UBM resort, might it be made available for an older couple or family to stay there, without the need to sleep on a church hall floor?
Will you encourage another to join a team, even if you cannot go yourself? Can you support someone struggling with finances so that person can join a team? Perhaps you could book a holiday in a UBM resort. Just by sitting as part of the crowd at the ‘holiday special’ you will get the opportunity to chat with families around and share in the gospel witness, without officially being part of the team.
A sad development in recent years is the willingness of local authorities to act on a complaint from just one holidaymaker. We see thousands each year enjoy our outreach but along with it can come opposition too. A letter from just one holidaymaker objecting to our message counts in the eyes of the authorities against us. One letter of appreciation from you can go a long way.
A wonderful Saviour
Might you consider joining a team yourself? Mary Halford only started coming on UBM teams when she was 66 years old. ‘I can share the gospel with people of many different age groups’, she says. ‘There are always those who want to know about the wonderful Saviour that we have’.
Not all can run about on the sand or chat confidently about the Saviour like Mary, but there is still work to do. One of the most difficult positions to fill is that of cook. Youngsters may baulk at the prospect of cooking for a team of fifteen! Nothing sophisticated is needed, but by offering to cook you can free up someone else for the beach.
Why not contact our UBM office and ask what you can do to help? (Spring Cottage, Spring Road, Leeds, LS6 1AD; 0113 2304362 or [email protected])