What a great time we had last weekend at our St Philips Youth Camp. God continued to work in the lives of our young people through this temporary community experience. Ten young people with five leaders attended for a weekend of fun, faith and friendship. Research has shown that a peak experience of this kind is one of the factors that helps young people stay connected to church and their faith.
Time together is so valuable – we all know that – and time together mixed with the corporate experience of being away with friends, around food, having fun, and going deeper in faith . . . that’s the kind of peak experience that builds strongly into lives, especially those of young people.
We were really aware at this point in our youth ministry that a camp would be an important and strategic thing to make happen, despite it being a tricky and costly thing to do given our people resources and events in some key people’s lives. And it was indeed tricky and costly, but completely worth it. People from our congregation financially supported kids to come on camp, shopped for food, cooked food, assisted with planning and lots more. Thanks for being part of it through your prayers, interest and your participation in little or big things.
At our Growing Young team meeting on Wednesday night, we reflected on how supported we are by our church community. That certainly came through in the prayer and practical support for this weekend.
However, one of the things that made a real difference was the willingness of two YWAMers, who are not part of our congregation, to come and spend the weekend with us. There’s no question that they were God’s provision for this weekend. To do it without them, given our own resources at this time, would have been an incredible stretch. They, along with Chelsea (another YWAMer, who is part of St Philips), came and served, enabling this weekend to happen. As well as their service in running games, and overseeing the preparation of the food that people in our congregation had purchased and cooked, it was fantastic for our young people to be led by some young adult Christians and to hear their stories.
Another thing that hugely helped this weekend was content from RightNow Media. We used a series called Jesus Changes Everything, a great resource that had us considering how Jesus gives us a new self, new relationships, new habits and a new mission. These videos and the material that went with them gave us a great framework for exploring together the truth of how Jesus does indeed change everything. The testimonies on the videos of how particular young people’s lives have been transformed by Jesus was a real highlight. It was fantastic to have the chance to explore these themes further with our young people and to have the opportunity to pray with them.
Please continue to pray for our young people, that the good work that God has begun in them will take deep root.
Thanks for your partnership,