YA Camp

YA Camp 2017 was an amazing weekend. I must admit to being somewhat emotional this year as this was to be my last YA Camp as director after five fantastic years. It started as a desire to see young adults become more passionate about their faith in Jesus, and to see them become engaged in their local churches.

As always he had a great weekend full of fellowship, worship, teaching and fun activities. This year we went for a walk to the bottom of Kondalilla falls on Saturday afternoon. No one was brave enough to swim in the rock pools but the walk was fantastic and the weather was perfect.

Pastor Lex Akers was our speaker and he not only taught us about the significance of our faith in Jesus, but also what that looks like in our lives in a practical way. He wanted us to know our potential as ambassadors for Christ. For me the thing that stood out the most from Lex’s teaching was the challenge to evaluate if the way we live out our faith is more a product of our culture than our calling. What are the cultural practices that we have always known that may be hindering our faith? Lex also had a very strong word of encouragement for women in ministry. This was not just a word of encouragement for the young adult women, but also for the young adult men. We all need to be deliberate in ensuring that our Wesleyan belief about women in leadership is not just nice words in our handbook – we need to see the evidence of it in our churches…

One of the highlights for me was Saturday morning. I gave the young adults an hour to go out onto the camp groups to spend an hour alone with God. I encouraged them to do some worship, to journal, to pray, to sit quietly, to read, but most of all to listen to God. Then Pastor Lex, Pastor Scott Lucas and myself prayed for all 60 young adults as they left the building that they would commune with Jesus and hear clearly from him. As I walked around the property, I saw almost every one of the 60 young adults sitting somewhere in personal time with God. It was so good to see. The best part was the reports that came back later that morning. Many had never taken an hour to just sit at the feet of Jesus. One told me he had never written down anything before in a journal and he wrote down what was on his heart and told me he felt a strong reassurance from God that he was loved and that the answers to his prayers would come. Others said they discovered the benefits of sitting in silence and listening rather than doing all the talking. Others dwelled on some scripture and others felt they got some direction they were seeking from God. My encouragement to them was this – If your time with God was that good in just 1 hour this weekend. Imagine what could happen if you did that every week or even every day!

Sometimes I wish there was a way to do more for our young adults (and kids and youth). They only get one weekend a year. My prayer is that one day soon our district will have an increase in financial resources to allow us to employ someone to do more for our generational ministries. I believe that day is coming. I’m going to pray more for that opportunity to happen!

Our Young Adults have so much to offer our churches. When they gather together like this to worship and go deeper in their faith, they come alive and the passion for Jesus becomes so evident. I wonder how we can encourage and support our younger generations more and allow our churches to give them the freedom to express their love for Jesus more openly. Perhaps their enthusiasm is just what we need… 🙂

God Bless

Nathan Bell