The catch-cry for worship at this year’s Northern Youth Councils can be found in the words of Jesus as laid out in John 15:5, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’ This was summarized in one word as the theme of our camp: ‘Abide’.
Under cover of darkness on Friday evening 4 August, 191 youth and leaders came together at YMCA’s Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges, south east of Auckland. Everyone arrived under a clear winter’s star-filled sky for what would turn out to be an amazing weekend.
Our three main speakers for the weekend were Captain Mat Badger (Divisional Youth Secretary), Britney Marsh from World Vision, and Alex Escobar from Westgate Corps.
On Friday night, Captain Mat gave a somewhat humorous Gospel presentation with a clear opportunity to respond. Then, on Saturday morning and Sunday morning, both Britney and Alex built on the single idea that abiding in Christ is really important, because without being connected to Christ—without ‘abiding’ in him—anything we want to do for his kingdom is futile. This thematic flow led to an amazing time of ministry and response on Sunday morning, including a challenge for those God could be calling to be Salvation Army officers in the future.
We also had three key workshop presenters on Saturday afternoon, which all got rave reviews from those who attended. The first presenter was Britney Marsh, who talked about practical social justice for teens. Cain Prentice from East City Corps ran a workshop sharing practical tips on how to talk to others about God. And we also had the privilege of having Jason and Meredith Akuhata-Brown from Gisborne who came to do ‘The Sexy Talk’.
Other highlights of the weekend included our worship band ‘Besorah’ from Westgate Corps under the leadership of Nick Moffat and Lieutenant Daniel Buckingham. These guys and gals rocked, literally! Our prayer space and staging area had a huge effort put into it by a very committed design team.
Saturday activities of archery, abseiling, military confidence course, the mudslide, the high swing, and the Super Fox were lots of fun as always.
But the real highlight of the weekend was hanging out at the big Saturday night bonfire under the stars with friends, complete with an acoustic singalong that featured Jason Akuhata-Brown on blues harmonica. While this was happening, teams of people were taken away to play laser strike in a semi-close quarter urban combat zone as set up by the DYS.
Northern Youth Councils 2017 was a huge win that worked so well because of the fantastic team of volunteers who helped pull it all together. If you didn’t make it to Northern Youth Councils this year, you really missed out Roll on Northern Youth Councils 2018!