It was a messy, muddy and wildly powerful time for the 112 campers from over 50 churches who attended Drastic youth camp at The Tops centre last week!
Being the first Drastic event in three years, many young people experienced camp for the first time, while a number of first-time leaders returned from being campers in previous years.
Led by Ruth Lewis-Jones, youth pastor at Kingsway Church in Caringbah, and Youth Catalyst leader in Churches of Christ in NSW & ACT, a core team of 40 youth pastors and leaders from our network and 46 additional volunteers invested their gifts in serving and ministering to young people. Campers and leaders experienced God’s presence in mighty, transformational ways and soaked up key truths about their identity in Christ.
Ruth reflected on camp, sharing what the team saw God doing this week: “God was giving a clear message to all our campers and leaders that HE IS WITH THEM. He showed up time and time again to prove His unconditional love and presence. It was so beautiful to see how God uniquely met each camper and leader right where they were at, giving them just what they needed – Himself. A testament of what God did was amplified in our full ‘testimony wall’ and in the last minutes of camp where all campers and leaders sang together, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back … Christ is enough for me’.”
The core theme of this year’s Drastic was ‘Follow’, with a tagline #liveloved. Sessions explored practically how to receive and own that Jesus chooses us, walks with us and empowers us. Workshops taught us how to engage with the Bible, understand our identity, listen to the Holy Spirit, and share the hope of Jesus.
From night one, it was clear this would be a special week. After PJ from Youth for Christ shared his testimony of Christ’s power in his life, many young people responded to receive prayer and commit their lives further to Jesus. From this point onwards, a spiritual hunger was set, and the boldness and ownership of the campers grew each night. A unity formed amongst campers as they rallied alongside each other in worship, praying for one another and sharing in God’s goodness.
After a moving time of worship on the last evening, Ruth gave an invitation to share a testimony or word of encouragement to the campers, a line formed at the stage, and at least eight campers boldly preached their testimony and prayed for those in the room. One girl shared, “I’d heard about God my whole life, but on this camp, I’ve met God, I’m choosing to follow Jesus, and I’ve never been happier.”
Timothy Phillips, a first-time leader who has returned after being a camper in previous years, was blown away by the power of transformation he witnessed in young people this week. He said, “There’s been such boldness and fellowship of the youth. They’ve really banded together this Drastic, and it’s awesome to see. I’ve seen some who are struggling, crying and weeping, just wanting God. You’ll have 10-20 kids, surround them, lay hands, pray for them and tap into the Holy Spirit. It’s just been a real joy to watch.”
Read more stories from churches of Christ in NSW & ACT HERE