More about Life Discovery
What does Life Discovery do and what's different about it? TOP
In a phrase, we aim to offer what we call 'Space To Think'. It's a concept we believe in so strongly that we've created a place for it, our own farm venue, in Salfords, Surrey, not far from Horley on the Surrey/Sussex border.
Somewhere that adult people can go on the first Saturday of each month, away from the pressures of everyday life. Somewhere they can discover something about themselves - in the course of discovering activities that, for us, are each, in their own way, expressions of what Jesus called 'Life and Life to the Full'.
The Karting part of our day, for example, puts guests through more high speed on-track motorsport excitement than they could buy almost anywhere on the corporate market. The Xtreme Mudsports activities, meanwhile, provide off-road exhilaration with all-terrain buggies and quad-bikes. The watersports elements, raft building and kayaking are equally stimulating.
In between the activities, we ask our guests to consider some life-changing questions. Like Why Am I Here?, Does My Life Matter? and What Is My Purpose? And we give them some answers to consider. Answers that can change their lives.
What's the background to Life Discovery and what's been achieved so far? TOP
The background is simply down to a group of Christian people determined to reach out to others who would never normally be open to anything Christians had to say. That's what led to the establishment of the first Karting For Life programme in 1992 and subsequently to the setting up of Discovery Ministries.
For the next ten years, Discovery Ministries ran a variety of programmes all targeted at getting Christians to invite people who would never normally darken the door of a church. Watersports For Life, Health, Beauty & Life and Xtreme Mudsports For Life were all added to the activities that could be offered and during the course of that time, we changed our name to Life Discovery to better describe our ethos.
The response from guests over the many years we've been operating has been phenomenal. We see our job as changing people's perceptions about Christianity, creating opportunities for Christians to build relationship bridges and making people more open to the reality of a relationship with God. Those three objectives have been achieved with virtually all our guests over hundreds of events run over more than 25 years.
A registered charity whose events are run by volunteers from a variety of Christian denominations, we're there to provide a tool for churches and Christian organisations to use to reach those who would otherwise be... well, hard to reach. As a bridge into church-based outreach, we think we've a crucial role in the church of the 21st Century.
How many people are involved in this work? TOP
It takes many men and women to operate each activity programme. They're all volunteers, giving up their spare time to make these days possible. Our guests just can't believe the amount of effort that is put in or how excited the team is about doing it. We don't have to preach at the people who come along: the day itself says everything that needs to be said.
Do you give your guests the opportunity to make their own minds up? TOP
Absolutely. They're certainly not pressurised in any way. We show a short video at the beginning of each of our days that tells our guests what activities we have in store and shares a little of who we are and why we're doing what we do. From this, we develop into a multi-media presentation that in short sections asks the key life questions we want them to consider throughout the day. They'll get a DVD copy of this to take away at the end, a disc that includes an extra session that can be viewed back at home with the person that brought them.
Plus, they're given a free booklet called Exploding The Myths that tries to address most of the common issues people have with Christianity. This is part of our 'Life Changing Stuff' pack which also includes 'stuff' to view (a DVD with some short films) and 'stuff' to listen to (the Gospel of John on CD). At the end of the day as a prelude to the meal, there's a short talk from a Christian speaker they'll have had time to get to know with throughout the day. Apart from that, if people want to ask about our faith, they can. Otherwise, they are simply free to enjoy the activities we offer them. What we do and how we do it speaks for itself.
A particular source of help for our work to date has come from Christian business people who have felt God calling them to financially support the ministry: we call them Busionaries. Visionaries who, thought they can't physically get involved, give regularly or specifically for particular items of equipment to make the programmes happen. It's an exciting thing to give to because you can very often see a concrete result from your giving as an extra item of equipment increases the number of people we can reach.