Back in February, I had the privilege of attending a camp called Going Further. It is a camp for young adults from 18-30 about, as you can probably tell, “going further” in discipleship. On a sunny Friday morning, around 60 young Presbyterians and Anglicans descended on the beautiful Orama community on Great Barrier Island for one pretty epic week.
For me, it was a deeply formative experience.
Too often, I think, Christian camps are orientated mostly around the head (theology and content), or mostly around the heart (Holy Spirit stuff), or mostly just on activities. It is a difficult balance to strike. The thing I most appreciated about Going Further (apart from the awesome people) was the holistic nature of the content: we had amazing sermons form Kindra Green, a pastor from San Diego working with the refugee community there; creative and integrated worship led by worship songwriter and Presbyterian minister Malcolm Gordon; habitation practices and spiritual disciplines such as morning and evening prayers, lectio divina, and meditation; creation care; all mixed in with small group discussions and lots of free time to just BE.
All of this in a stunning, remote location with a pier to jump off, kayaking, bushwalks to waterfalls, volleyball, and other activities on our doorstep. You start to get the idea.
The breadth of content and experiences was refreshing, enlightening and challenging.
It was refreshing to see Church being bold, creative and yet grounded in Scripture. What would it be like, we wondered, if we could take that back to our own churches?
It was enlightening to try new things: morning prayers when many were still half asleep; learning to practice and reclaim spiritual disciplines such as meditation that have been practiced for two thousand years, but are rarely cherished by the modern church.
It was challenging to explore how to live out our faith in our own context, and not worry about what the hip, cool church down the road is doing, or what outdated practices in our own church need updating, but to instead explore what God is already doing in our communities and to meet him there!
Exploring and experiencing these things with fellow Christians our own age was just the best. Awesome friendships were made, and there was an incredible sense of community, with plenty of laughs along the way. It really felt like God’s kingdom on earth.
Next year, definitely put it in your calendar, whatever stage of life or faith you are at, it is not something to be missed!