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Ventures Update Autumn 2013

Celebrating summer


Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! As for man, his days are like grass;     he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Psalm 103:1, 15-18, 22b (ESV)

att Redman singing ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul’ and BBC Radio 5 Live’s commentary of the World Athletics Championships were key features of the entertainment on offer on my car stereo as I travelled from Venture to Venture this summer! Usain Bolt, having taken a clean sweep in the sprints, told reporters he’s aiming to repeat that at the Rio Olympics in 2016 (to become the first person to win three golds at three consecutive Games) to ensure he’s remembered as a sporting legend. Psalm 103, a psalm of praise, gives us wise perspective on what is remembered eternally. Even if Bolt achieves his aim (and I hope he does), such outstanding and unmatched successes in sport, business and any other sphere will eventually pass away and be completely forgotten – ‘its place knows it no more.’ What lasts forever? The psalmist tells us it is the love of God and those on whom it rests. Since taking up the new role of Ventures and Falcon Camps principal in July, it’s been an amazing privilege to visit such an array of Ventures and to see first-hand so many children and young people grappling with the gospel and discovering the cross as the entry point to eternity; to see young disciples

praising God and being strengthened in him through his word; and to witness all this amongst enormous levels of fun! Well done to all of you who have served so faithfully in leading, sending, supporting or praying for our children and young people. But ultimately, let us ‘bless the Lord’ for all he is actively doing in us and in the lives of those he entrusts to us on each Venture. And please pray for me and the Ventures team as we begin to process and review all of the successes and challenges that this season has brought us. We’re passionate about working with leaders of our Ventures to prayerfully consider and plan for opportunities to ‘raise the bar’ of our ministry and to open the doors even wider so that more and more youngsters can discover what really lasts! Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Tim Friend, Ventures Principal

I am thankful for ... ddie, 16 ‘Dorm time giggles.’ Ma ‘The brilliant and inspiring leaders and talks.’ Jack, 14

nks.’ Lottie, 16

‘The laughs and the pra

‘Feeling so loved, happy and amazing here.’ Ella, 13 ‘Spending time with good Christian friends.’ John, 16

‘The amazing Bible tea

ching.’ Anna, 18

‘My first time coasteering. It was awesome!’ George, 12 ‘Having the largest ice cream ever at Scarborough.’ Rachel, 15 ‘Learning about Jesus.’ Molly, 12

‘The lasting impact on

my faith.’ David, 18

‘The friends I made.’ Phoebe, 12

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever. Psalm 107:1

Faith-building friendships Friendship and a sense of belonging are key components of every Venture. Overall leader Dave Barnsley tells us how the relationships formed at Colwyn Bay 4 are helping teenagers grow in faith far beyond the summer. ‘In a nutshell, a residential allows time and space for Christian fellowship and attentive discipleship to happen in a way which simply isn’t possible week-by-week at a youth group. When you live in a Christian community for a week and spend time together at mealtimes and during activities, games and Bible studies, it’s hard not to get to know each other well! ‘We find dorm groups are a particularly good way to ensure young people are really well looked after by the leaders and each

other. This smaller setting facilitates closer friendships between the teenagers, and gives us leaders the chance to get to know the young people well enough to grasp something of what God is doing in them, how best we can bring his word to them, and how we can help them grow and serve as Christians back in their church and school. ‘It’s lovely to see friendships between the young people grow and strengthen during the Venture. We’ve got a group of 18-yearold girls who made friends at Colwyn Bay and have been back summer after summer, and are a real support to each other to keep “stuck-in” with the Christian faith throughout the year, even though they live as far away as Somerset and Cumbria! ‘For those who come on their own, the Colwyn Bay 4 community can be particularly

Dave Barnsley

important. Last summer, we had a 16-yearold German boy with us. He had originally come to England as part of a language exchange, and had stayed with the family of one of our members. He came along to the youth group, where he became a Christian, and which led to him coming on Colwyn Bay 4. Coming on the Venture really helped him keep going as a Christian. He came back to England for our annual winter reunion and was back with us again this summer. We’ve now been able to link him up with a Bibleteaching church in Germany, where he’s got stuck into a small group. The impact that quality Christian friendships can have on a teenager cannot be underestimated.’

Many happy returners

‘I came to Quantock 1 for the first time last year. This summer, I really enjoyed catching up with old friends as well as making several new friends. I loved all of the activities and the Bible studies, and the food was awesome! ‘I knew a bit about God before coming on camp, but the Bible studies and teaching really confirmed what I knew and helped me to understand it better. It has also deepened my understanding of God, particularly in relation to the Trinity, which I struggled to understand before. Studying John’s Gospel was really helpful, as I had not studied it before. ‘Quantock 1 was the highlight of my summer, and I am greatly looking forward to the reunion and next summer.’ Peter Hunt, 15

Quantock 1 Venture so much that Peter, Lizzy and Jack all love the They share their 2013 highlights. they keep coming back for more!

‘It’s hard to pinpoint what my favourite thing was about Quantock this year because there were so many. The teaching was both encouraging and challenging – I have learnt so much! ‘One of the things that particularly struck me was that no-one can snatch us from Jesus’ hand (John 10:28). He gave up his life so that we could enter into a relationship with our heavenly father, the creator of the universe, so we can be confident that he will always be with us. ‘The people are great – the leaders were really fun, enthusiastic and easy to talk to. I also really enjoyed being surrounded by Christians, or those investigating faith, who were of a similar age as we had so much in common.’ Lizzy Lines, 18

‘As always, the leaders versus members dodgeball match (normally crocker, but the rain forced us indoors) was my sporting highlight of the year. Rousing speeches were thrown across the room, we smeared war paint across our faces and the Haka erupted from our ranks. There isn’t a feeling quite like it, and the fact that it was a glorious victory for the members just topped it off! ‘The activities at Quantock are fantastic, but what keeps me coming back are the people. I have made some of my best friends on this camp, and have been inspired by the leaders. ‘In the studies on John’s Gospel I learnt more about our need for a saviour, and that none of us are good enough to ”rise to life” without Jesus.’ Jack Schofield, 17

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

Growing in grace Overall leader Ed Drew was delighted to see the way the 11-14s at Woolhampton 1 engaged with the Christian message, through the spiritual programme and beyond. ‘Helping young people learn about Jesus and grow in faith sits at the heart of Woolhampton 1, so we tried to reflect this by making the main meeting the highlight of each day. We also offered a series of optional seminars (called ‘buzz groups’), hoping that each member would go to at least one discussion during the week, covering the themes of contentment, suffering, evangelism and relationships. All four buzz groups were attended by more than 50 of the 75 members, which far exceeded my expectations. ‘We were thrilled these sessions were so popular, but were also keen to communicate that “life to the full” (John 10:10) is about far more than Bible talks and seminars. We tried to demonstrate the joy and unity of the gospel in everything we did on the Venture, from modelling healthy competition in games of football, to singing in the dining room and laughing together every day.

‘It was amazing to see how God sustained us and provided for us throughout the week. One firsttime leader said, “I had no idea I’d be this blessed by it”, while another has asked me to sign her up for the next 10 years! We saw so many prayers being answered, and it was particularly special to see the way the young people immersed themselves in the spiritual programme, and grew in their knowledge of Christ. ‘I spoke to a mum after camp whose son had become a Christian at Woolie 1. Before the Venture, he had said that he didn’t know how he could love Jesus and what faith would look like, but his mum was delighted to say that he was no longer worried or afraid. We also heard from a parent who asked her daughter what the best thing about the Venture was, and was simply told “Everything was the best thing”!’

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Ventures Update, Autumn 2013  
Ventures Update, Autumn 2013  

Autumn 2013 edition of the Ventures Update.