Since its inception in 1987 Bristol-based NGM has been a pioneering ministry engaging youth culture. Tony Cummings quizzed NGM's Ray Goudie about the ministry's continuing development.
Tony: Most of our readers have heard that you've recently
moved into a new building. What precisely are you planning to do in
your new location?
Ray: "God has really been fantastic in supplying us with amazing new premises we call the Caedmon Complex. We are using the Grade II listed Manor House as a base for our NGM and Engage offices. It is also 'home' for Danny and Ally Budd who look after the whole complex. Accommodation for volunteers and guests, along with seminar/meeting rooms are also part of the existing building. Over the next year we are also building an Arts Training and Resource centre in the beautiful grounds of the Manor House. This will have two recording studios, rehearsal room, dance studio, video suite, eight purpose built, sound proofed rooms plus kitchen and cafe facilities. This whole new project is part of our preparations and putting down foundations for the next millennium where we can see a multiplication of the work of NGM in impacting the nations for God."
Tony: You clearly have ambitious plans for the Church's move
into the arts and media. What is your current vision and how is that
being outworked at NGM?
Ray: "Our mission statement is 'to engage a future people with a God experience'. Our vision is, and always has been, to reach as many people with the love and power of Jesus and to see society awaken to a new hunger and awareness of God. By September of this year we will have around 70 people in NGM working in three main areas. One is in ENGAGE - our work in the media -where we have DJ's, artists, bands, authors, presenters, etc looking to be a breath of fresh air in the media, giving people a glimpse of good living and of the living God. It's no longer any use staying in our Christain shelters throwing the occasional song or artist into the mainstream, we need to be in the media building friendships, networking and impacting, and influencing this particular community for God. I strongly believe Church needs to be at the heart of all such activity and we are looking to see how we can 'church' it in the media.
"The second area is EXTREME -Church Planting in Youth Culture -where we are experiencing quite incredible growth. Phil Ball, Assistant Director of NGM, heads up this exciting work. Along with eden - our own Church in Youth Culture based in Thornbury, we are now planting three other churches/youth congregations in conjunction with local churches. We are also working with a group in Switzerland, who run a skateboard park, and we are looking to develop a work over there. Reaching and discipling young people is at the heart of NGM and we are committed to radically and sacrificially reaching the mainly unchurched youth now being called the Millennium Generation. "The third area is INNOVATE - our training inniatives. The Caedmon Complex will obviously take this whole area on to a new level with having such excellent facilities. The vision here is to train and release hundreds of young artists, from 14 years of age upwards, to have a passion for Jesus, compassion for the lost and excellence in their art form. Our training approach is wholistic in that we bring people into the whole NGM Community experience - worship, disci-pleship, friendship, etc where people can develop in all areas of their life. We want to release many young artists into the mainstream to fulfill in even greater measure the heart of NGM and Engage."
Tony: Dba were perceived very much as a spearhead for NGM and
Engage so their departure caught some observers by surprise. What can
you tell us about dba leaving NGM to go and work with Howard
Ray: "Shaz and Robbie, dba, were part of our lives in NGM for many years so it was with mixed emotions that we saw them leave last year. I do think that their move to Maidenhead - where their home church is, as well as their link with Howard Jones who lives locally - is an ideal move for them. We wish them well for the future."
Tony: NGM has clearly pioneered engaging dance culture. Are
you still going to be working in that area?
"With around 1 million young people in the UK going to clubs every weekend -the simple answer to that is yes!"
Tony: There's a buzz beginning to develop about your new girl
band, Tomorrow's Girl. Have they been formed in response to the
current huge chart popularity of girl groups?
Ray: "The honest answer is that we tried NOT to put a girl band together. However, the people whom we auditioned, and who seemed to fit, were all girls! Tanya, who heads up the band, has been part of NGM for a number of years and has developed into a stunning vocalist and performer. With the other two extremely talented singers, Sue and Carrie, Tomorrow's Girl is definitely the hottest dance band we've had in NGM. They spend most of their time in schools where they already have received great response from pupils and teachers alike. A new single is due out shortly which I have a sneaking suspicion will make a real impact in the mainstream market."
Tony: The Steve single was heavily played on UCB Cross
Rhythms but seemed to miss the attention of much of the general
public. Was that a disappointment and what are the band currently
Ray: "We thought the Steve single/EP achieved what we thought it would. It sold incredibly well wherever the band toured and it gave them valuable experience in the studio in preparation for eventually an album. I don't think singles released just in the Christian market sell that well generally, it's mostly through artist sales. The band are just back from a four week tour in Denmark where they saw God touch the lives of many young people. The Steve boys just love gigging so although it was quite a packed tour they had a great time. They are presently back in the studio working on some new songs and looking to put a demo together with an outside producer so we can try and get them a mainstream deal. They are also playing at local clubs in the Bristol and Bath scene. We would like to thank you guys for supporting Steve so much on UCB Cross Rhythms."
Tony: The Trip album was critically acclaimed. Will there be
Ray: "The Trip 'Cultural Shift' CD really did break new ground and I'm delighted to say that DJ Andy Hunter is currently working on a new Trip project. I've heard some of the new tracks and they're sounding absolutely brilliant."
Tony: What can you tell us about Eils' current
Ray: "Eils, who is developing her career as a TV/live presenter as well as continuing to sing, has recently moved back to Thornbury to be closer to the NGM family. She has just returned from a Christian Aid trip to Jamaica where she was part of a team reaching out to some of the under privileged kids. She also took part in a video of the trip and spent some time with the mainstream TV companies in Jamaica. I'm convinced Eils has got God's hand on her and I'm excited at seeing her established in the media."
Tony: NGM has come a long way since those early days with
Heartbeat. What do you think the future holds for the
Ray: "God has been so good to us. We so value our early days in Heartbeat and the thousands of young people who were touched by God. Multiplication has been the word that God has consistently spoken to us and we want to see more people becoming Christians, more people discipled, more people healed, more of God's presence...in fact just more and more of God and his blessing on all we seek to do for him."