For many, Youth Councils and Summer School, hold a special place in our hearts for many reasons. Each event holding a particular memory which we will always treasure. I, myself, am such a person who has had great experiences, of fun and fellowship but also a transforming experience of God in my life through these events. I have so far been to four Youth Councils and two Summer Schools.
When I was a young teen growing up in a corps where I was the only young person, weekends such as these were an anchor in my fragile, young faith. My first two experiences exposed me to the wider 'army' of young people and was a great way of being able to connect with others my age, and see that I wasn't alone after all. It was reassuring to know there were others searching for their belief not just me.Personally, East Scotland Divisional Youth Councils in 2011, was the greatest weekend of my life. I was only a couple months into my university life, in a new city, very much looking to experience all that life could offer for me. I received an invitation to attend the councils and I couldn't refuse for some reason (believe me, I thought I had better things I could be doing) so I decided I would go.
I thank God I decided to go, it was a weekend full of fun and fellowship but it was more than that, it was a weekend that transformed my life! Through fellowship with other young people, through worship and the word, God opened my eyes to the meaning of the weekend’s theme - "Worship 24/7". That weekend I properly accepted Jesus as my Saviour and I was able to accept him as Lord. I understood that following him is more than just a Sunday thing but a daily life of walking with him.
I thank God that since then I have been able to walk with him daily, through the difficult days but also the great days, where I have walked closer and closer with him.And so as I look forward to what I know will be another fantastic weekend, I simply "wait upon the Lord".
It is my prayer that all who gather, from the East, West and North will have a weekend they won't forget. I look forward to the creative costumes on the Saturday night party. I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I look forward to the fun and laughter which will be had in bucket loads!
But most importantly, I look forward to another encounter with God, I do enjoy daily fellowship with God but these weekends always offer up something special. It is my prayer that all who attend will feel the presence of God throughout the weekend. I pray for our leaders and the word that is being prepared.
I pray that I would be refreshed, challenged and inspired by God. But my deepest desire, which I bring before God, is that for those who don't know him yet. I pray that, like mine was, young people's lives would be transformed with the knowledge of God. And for us who walk with him already, may we be renewed in our relationship with him.
So let us wait in great anticipation...
"...but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)