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30 October 2017

The Above Bar Church Youth Weekend Away 2017

Aaron Griffin Aaron Griffin Head of Youth Ministry
Youth Weekend 2017 - singing

“So, the biggest issue I have is: why isn’t there anything written in the Bible about Jesus’s childhood?”

I have been at Above Bar Church for 8 years now and I will never fail to be both surprised and excited about the type of questions that you get from teenagers.

This question came at 10.45pm from a 12 year old. It is questions like these that motivate the Above Bar Church Youth Big Weekend Away each year. This time we set off to the Avon Tyrrell youth activity centre in the New Forest for a weekend full of activities, food, fun and—most importantly—space and time for young people to explore faith and ask big questions.

Youth Weekend 2017 - group

Storm in a cup!

Despite all that Storm Brian could throw at us over the weekend, the outside activities still went ahead.

Many of the younger teens braved their fear of heights (alongside some leaders doing the same!) while our middle group, Engage, went out to see who could be crowned king or queen of the archery range. Lisa, one of our amazing leaders, had organised an escape room experience for our young people to work though while waiting for activities. Their feedback was very positive.

Rooted, the older group, had a special treat. Many of them have done the activities before, so they all got into a minibus and headed to a coffee shop in New Milton to spend the morning enjoying some hot drinks and searching for bargains in charity shops! Huge thank you to the staff in Costa for taking the largest coffee shop order I have ever done!

Youth Weekend 2017 - archery

Satisfied? I am!

In the main sessions, we looked into a big topic in the lives of many of our young people: satisfaction.

The book of Ecclesiastes says that the eye never has enough of seeing and the ear never has enough of hearing. I’d want to add that the thumb never has enough flicking! There are obvious problems surrounding social media and phone addiction seen by those of us working within the youth ministry.

We were looking at the “I am” sayings of Jesus. He said that he is both the resurrection and the life—in other words, he is the only place where we can go for long-term and lasting satisfaction in this life. Big claims!

He also claimed to be the “bread of life” and we looked at this on Saturday evening. On Sunday afternoon, we finished up with Jesus’s saying, “I am the vine, you are the branches”, and explored what we thought was the best way to live.

We also hosted some seminars for the young people to choose, exploring issues such as social media and phone usage, beauty, fear, how we know God loves us, and bio-ethics.

Rooted had a huge team-building and question-and-answer session on Sunday morning, exploring questions of predestination, biblical evidence, living in a broken world, alcohol and wisdom.

The youth ministry exists to help young people engage with God on their terms, an aim which kept us motivated throughout the weekend.

Youth Weekend 2017 - group 2

Thank God!

Thank you to those church family members who were praying for us. We had no accidents or incidents, which I was really pleased about. Avon Tyrrell staff were really great and the young people mostly behaved themselves and engaged well.

One thing which makes the Big Weekend Away an amazing experience each year is the fantastic team of leaders who give up their time, effort and finances for the young people who come along. They are the ones who deal with big questions, teenage meltdowns and important conversations alongside all the other responsibilities within youth ministry. Team, thank you!

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