I’m just sitting in the Hobart bus mall typing this. It’s one of the places I am most inspired. I love thinking about God and being surrounded by people that he loves.
You know, we find ourselves in a position of influence, which flows from our significance in Christ. There is nothing insignificant about your life and who you are. You are unique for a reason and you will reach people that no one else will reach. It is a lie to think that you are just another person, or even just another Christian. God created you and I as individuals within his family, each with a specific plan and purpose for our lives, which only we can fulfil (through Christ). One of the beautiful and completely amazing things about our Father God is that he never makes mistakes, and he never overlooks or devalues one person. Not once. Not ever.
As I sit here, I’m surrounded by a heap of young people. I know most of us have had a bit of trouble filling in our recent census, but in our last one (2011), there were 82 007 people aged 12 to 25 years recorded statewide. This group represented 16.6 per cent of the total population of Tasmania. At this time, the Local Government Area with the highest proportional population of young people aged 12 to 25 was Hobart (19.8 per cent). How incredible! There is something so special about young people.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a group of people so creative, so compassionate, so adventurous, so willing to take risks, so innovative, and often swept up in some kind of relentless chaos or struggle. Much the same as in my own life, I see beauty and glory, but also the rough edges and the effects of sin. I think that’s exactly how it is with buried treasure; it is destined for glory but it needs uncovering. It always takes some work to unearth and restore a treasure to its original purpose.
“I will break down gates of bronze
And cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures,
Riches stored in secret places,
So that you may know that I am the Lord,
The God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
The next generation is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered and unlocked.
God has always been passionate about these ones.
Throughout the ages, the uncovering and unlocking has been a team effort.
We have a unique part to play.
We are the ones who dig and uncover as we simultaneously partner with the Master Locksmith who knows the combination to every lock on every treasure chest of every one in this next generation.
Our job is to make a way for God to do what only he can do.
“God says, “Rebuild the road!
Clear away the rocks and stones
So my people can return from captivity.”
Youth ministry is the real deal, and it is the heart of the Father.
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. When he saves us, it is far from a slight adjustment. It is the complete transference from a place so deathly dark into the Kingdom of pure light. He saw treasure in us and paid a high price to bring us back to our original glory.
As guardians of the next generation (and that is what we are), may we believe that to truly value a person is to expect greatness to burst forth and make room for it. It may be in seed form, or be buried under years of struggle and apparent chaos, but God has placed treasure inside each young person and we one the ones who must expect it and prepare for it.
Potency. If there is one word I might use to describe the next generation, I would probably describe them as POTENT.
What I love about this concept, is that in its very nature, the potent article possesses the preexisting ingredients ready to be brought into existence by an environment or culture which matches perfectly with its needs to grow into what is was always meant to be.
I believe this is the way God has designed us, and this is what we are called to do in youth ministry. We want to facilitate a culture and environment where young people can get to know Jesus and become all they were created to be. We owe this to the teenagers we know and love, and we also owe that same opportunity to the rest of the 20% of Hobart’s population who are young people. We owe it to our Father who sent his only Son to die in our place and the place of the other 80,000 young people in Tasmania. Heaven will be missing its full inheritance if we are the only ones who experience the love of God. We have to pave the way for these generations following.
There are many ways of facilitating this, but our fast approaching youth camp is a practical example of providing the very kind of environment we have been taking about.
IGNITE CAMP is undoubtedly one of our favorite weeks of the whole year. I cannot say how much the experience of camps like this shaped my life for the better when I was a teenager. I went away changed after each camp. Over the years, there are so many people who can tell of what God has done in their lives and the lives of family and friends on a youth camp. What can sometimes take months or years, God can do in a moment at camp.
Ignite Camp continues to be the focus of much prayer and planning from an amazing group of leaders who are passionate about the next generation. We are particularly focused on providing a safe place where teenagers can encounter God for themselves, build friendships, experience a sense of family, and have copious amounts of fun.
As we have chosen to lengthen Ignite Camp to four days this year, we’ve therefore needed to increase registration price to cover costs. Obviously it’s not always easy to come up with money for a camp registration, so we are also looking for some generous souls to sponsor some of our young people to attend.
We don’t want money to stop any young person from coming. We really want to give an opportunity for teenagers to get to know Jesus. Four days without distractions, four days pursuing Jesus together. We’d like to invite you to seize the day and contribute financially to sponsoring teenagers to get to camp. I know there are many young people who will be eternally grateful… quite literally.
This is the perfect opportunity to partner with God and see treasures once hidden, shine forth. Let’s give this generation the opportunity to encounter the one who loves them more than they realize.
– Jemimah Priest