What a Fantastic Big House Youth Conference!!
The second annual Big House Youth event was held 22nd-24th July, 2016, and was a fantastic weekend! From the games and firepit on the first night, to joining the joint Communion service on the last day, the vibe of the weekend was perfect for a summer festival with a difference!
Chip K was the guest speaker for the weekend - but this year we did things a little bit differently. On the first night we kept things fairly chilled and light, with a few games to encourage the groups to mix together, and for those who had come on their own to find new friends easily. This ended with a session around a couple of fire pits the conference centre had bought especially for the occasion, with enough marshmallows on skewers to feed the whole site - which some from the CMJ Annual Conference joined in with!
We had Matthias & Yonatan, who had come over from Israel to be part of the Youth Conference, play guitar and lead the youth in a couple of worship songs. It was such a sweet presence of the Lord, and I was warmed not just by the fire, but by the sight of both CMJ conferences joining in worship, as the Main Conference session finished and people spilled out onto the lawns of High Leigh.
I believe this would have been a sweet, sweet aroma to the Lord, also!
Think Biblically: Act Regionally
For this year’s event, we decided to split the youth conference into two age-relevant streams, to engage and interest the young people. The younger ones enjoyed a mix of games and talks by Chip K, with a short discussions relating to the topic of the weekend, which was, Think Biblically: Act Regionally. We took a walk through the book of Colossians throughout the weekend, in the hope that we can engage the Youngsters with the word of God, and inspire them to put what they read into action - this is part of our three strand focus, to reach, engage and inspire the next generation of leaders.
One parent wrote to us to say, “My ten year old son Barnie was also given a warm welcome and thoroughly enjoyed himself over the weekend too. He had good fun, good teaching, good input and good food!”
The older stream went deeper, based on the desire from last year from some who had expressed a desire for meaty content to the youth conference. We were joined by the keynote speakers from the main conference, three men who are involved in evangelism and ministry among both Jewish Communities, and Muslim Communities, including one who is Jewish, and ministers to the Muslims directly, as a powerful demonstration of God’s love and compassion. This was followed by an exploration through Colossians, and how the practical outworking of our faith can lead us down some exciting avenues for God’s Kingdom.
One parent spoke to us and said, “My daughter had no interest in the Bible before she went away, now she has asked for one for her birthday! She is literally reading the Bible on her phone at the moment, and has decided that when she finishes school she wants to go and volunteer in Israel!”
Reach, Engage & Inspire the next generation of leaders
On Saturday we were joined by The Identity - our entertainment for the evening. We were so blessed to have them join us for most of the weekend, and they held an optional workshop with some of the young people who wanted to know more about what it meant to pursue the dreams God has placed within them. The group leader, Matt, gave an excellent talk based on his personal experiences, and gave the group the chance to explore their own talents, their own dreams and interact with the group. We found out that one of the band actually works for the circus!
Although the band originally formed out of a sense of feeling lost and bored in the Church they were in, it is clear to see how God has used the five friends to encourage each other, and spur each other on with their walk with God. Their sense of fun came across during the evening performance, and as they joined in some of the free-time games the young people were playing.
But it was also a blessing to have The Identity remain with us for the first session on Sunday morning. Speaking to a few of them after the talk, it was easy to see how God had spoken to them, as Mickey said before he left, “What you are teaching these kids is so important. I didn’t have teaching like this when I was their age. Why didn’t I know about this stuff sooner?”
And while there is tons more to say about the amazing weekend, the final memory was the honour the Youth had to be actively involved in the joint Communion Service with the Main CMJ Conference. From those who volunteered to help with the serving of the wine, to the freedom Chip K brought as he led the conferences in his unique version of “How Great Thou Art.” There is nothing which sums up the brilliance of what God is doing, than the above picture, as Chip and Bishop David show solidarity in their worship of the One True God.
We at Big House may have different ways in which we express our love and worship of God, but to have the freedom to worship alongside our older brothers and sisters, or spiritual parents, was a beautiful and exciting moment in what was an extremely memorable second Big House Conference!! May the Lord grant us an increase in every way for the third event we are already planning for next year, as we continue to: