Sunday night was the launch of the very first AYM Youth Church, and what a launch it was.
On your Sunday night at 6pm you would probably be sitting down to eat dinner, looking forward to a quiet night in before the beginning of the working week. Not the young people of Anglican Youth Movement! Instead, they congregated at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul for an evening service aimed at young people. As you walked into the cathedral you could hear bass thumping from the choir stalls, and you could see hundreds of fairy lights illuminating the area where 150 young people piled in to get the first taste of youth church.
Youth groups all the way from Marton right down to Wellington City flocked to the cathedral to hear about Jesus and what He means for their lives. They were not disappointed with the proceedings. Thunderous applause and excited chatter erupted between praise songs, and the voices of young people worshipping God filled the building with such life. The Holy Spirit was there and moving in the hearts of those present. Youth workers had the opportunity to pray with their young people, worship with them and share in the joy of praising God together. Alongside them were clergy and members of the cathedral vestry which opened a fantastic opportunity for young people to connect with church leaders in an informal setting, what a blessing!
Phenomenal music was brought to the service by a mixed worship band of both youth and young adults who have been tirelessly practicing for the big launch of youth church. The band was a real blessing to this congregation of young people, delivering the funkiest contemporary songs that are familiar from Easter Camp and Discipleship Camp. It was a joy to see so many young faces light up at the sound of their most loved worship songs.
The message for the evening was brought by Andy Spence, a stellar youth worker from the Hutt Valley. He spoke about one of Jesus’ ‘I Am’ statements, “I am the way the truth and the life.” (John 14:6). Andy encouraged us to weigh up the ways of the world against the way of Jesus, the lies people tell us against the truth God gives us, and the life of the world versus the life found in Jesus. His words inspired us to get thinking about what aspects of our lives are not in line with the way, truth and life of Jesus and how we might bring them into alignment with Him. It was encouraging, challenging and hopeful. We also look forward to hearing from the next speaker in the lineup for the total seven weeks of youth church.
After the service people spent time with one another over snacks and hot drinks in the foyer, which was buzzing with conversation. It was great to see people reconnecting after Discipleship Camp and enjoying each other’s company, it was hard to get everyone out the door at the end!
The launch of AYM youth church was incredible. The presence of God was powerful, and the formation of a new church community was exciting to be part of. We all wait in anticipation for next Sunday at 6pm and in the meantime we pray that the young people present heard a whisper of the Holy Spirit and that God is working in their lives in a real and tangible way.
Article written by Anna Smart