More than 350 young adults from across Australia enjoyed a weekend of spiritual and social highlights at this year’s Converge camp.
Held at the Stuarts Point Convention Centre (NSW), February 16-19, the camp is promoted as a time to “come hang out with Jesus and your mates!”
An initiative of the youth department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia (AUC), this was the third year the camp has been held. Initially, the AUC youth team had locked in Converge for a three-year trial, which ended this year. They unanimously voted at this month’s youth advisory to continue Converge into the future.
AUC director of youth ministry, Pastor Jeff Parker, said: “Converge has been a real success. We are so excited about the young adults who have attended. Our Church really needs the energy and passion that they offer. A church without them would not be a church at all.”
This year’s speakers were Terrance Taylor, a speaker and pastor from the US, and Alina van Rensberg, young adult director for the South Queensland Conference. They gave campers practical tips for their spiritual life, including how to read and apply the Bible, how to let the Holy Spirit guide your life and how to step up for Christ in today’s world.
“It was an excellent ministry event designed for Adventist young adults to bring their friends to,” South Pacific Division youth director Dr Nick Kross said.
“This is what actually happened for several groups I spoke with. The Mt Druitt Samoan youth group decided to fundraise so they could invite some former youth who had stopped attending church regularly. They hosted a concert and raised $A10,000 to cover the costs of Converge.
“A total of 40 youth and young adults registered and about half of that group came purely because they were invited by their Adventist friends.”
On the Saturday evening there was a speed-friending activity that had a large group fully engaged for more than two hours.
“Meeting other Adventists is always a sub-theme in youth ministry,” Dr Kross said. “I always say, ‘What better place to meet other Adventists than at a youth ministry event.’
“Finding a spiritual life partner remains a core need for many of our young adults. Jesus is interested in every aspect of our life, the spiritual, social, physical and relational, so we need to lean into His will for our lives by taking every opportunity to partake in quality ministry events.”
Matt Corker travelled from Western Australia to attend Converge 2018, describing it as an “awesome experience”.
“It was great to unite with youth from all over the nation, creating friendships and memories, while praising God and being inspired by guest speakers Terrance and Alina,” Matt, 20, said.
“I attended for the first time this year, chasing a new-found experience, and left fulfilled and energised, but wanting more.
“This camp has motivated me to be the difference in my local church. It was definitely worth travelling for. So much happened in three days. I wish Converge was on for longer.”
Converge 2019 will run over the weekend of February 8-11.