I was blessed to take part in the recent National Christian Youth Convention. NCYC is normally held somewhere around Australia every 2 years. On this occasion, it was in our own Presbytery – at the Centre for Ministry and Tara School in North Parramatta. It was an exciting event with about 950 people attending, including many Aboriginal delegates and approximately 200 adult volunteers. I was part of the chaplaincy team.
Young people represent the future of the Church, and the present as well! Our church activities must embrace the interests of young people and must seek to meet their needs. Let us not forget that Jesus began ministering to those around him in the temple when he was only 12 years old, and the pivotal part of his ministry happened when he was in his early 30s.
NCYC is crucial for enthusing and developing future leaders of the Uniting Church, and for shaping the lives of the many participants.
The activities included morning community gatherings, worship options (including one led by OneHeart), Bible studies, afternoon electives and a smorgasbord of concerts and other programs. For me, one of the highlights was the first night rally, with a challenging message about befriending the outsider and the marginalised, just as Jesus befriended these people. I also enjoyed inspiring sessions about adapting to changes in our society, the meaning of mission and how Jesus connected with the community. Thanks to all those at West Epping who helped by preparing and serving food, worship leading, traffic control, logistic support and looking after NCYC delegates who stayed in our halls at West Epping, and by financially supporting our volunteers/delegates.
Let’s hope that together we can continue to focus on young people – the lifeblood of our Congregation and part of the bridge to our community.