If we are not allowed to sing…

We can be found again this warm summer at the De Betteld holiday park. For the 11th year in a row, Royal Mission can provide the children’s program MegaKids and the teen program Royal Adventure for 6 weeks. Hundreds and hundreds of children, teenagers and leaders are experiencing wonderful times with each other and with God. Yet this year is completely different, just as almost everything is different because of corona.

In the months leading up to July, we created several versions of the program for the teens. The RIVM rules sometimes changed every week. With or without contact sports? In one group or in multiple shifts due to a maximum number of people in a room? Eating in groups, at a distance or at multiple locations? And the big question was whether campsites would even open in the summer.

Yes but…
Fortunately, holiday parks were allowed to receive guests again from July 1. Young people under the age of 18 were even given permission again to participate in contact sports and the space to simply sit next to each other in a room. Beautiful! Back to the old programs or not? Not quite. Leaders are not allowed to sit among young people, not participate in sports all summer and always keep their distance. Even when we pray for young people. What a challenge. But perhaps the biggest loss is the ban on singing together indoors (instituted by the regional government).

Can you imagine it? A room in which more than 200 teenagers sit next to each other in long rows. Nearly 50 leaders have to keep their distance and are spread across the room. There is no band, because there is no singing. What are you doing then? What will be the effect on the meetings?

My story
I am a youth speaker in week 2. The meeting is opened by the host and starts with a game. Just such a wonderfully crazy teenage game. Whipped cream on the top of your hand, a slap on your forearm and then try to catch the flying whipped cream in your mouth. Or throw as many chips as possible on a head full of shaving foam. You know it. Water, custard, shaving foam, chips or balloons… always a party!

After the hilarity of the game we seamlessly switch to ‘5 minutes with God’. Everyone is invited and helped to experience intimacy with God in his/her own way. In a few seconds there is a deafening silence in the room. It’s almost too bizarre for words. As if God is completely in control now that we as leaders are not close to the young people. Now I can go on stage for 5 minutes. The meeting has just started and here I am already.

During my talk it is silent, except for the moments when I ask for a response or make a joke. 250 teenagers and leaders listened with fascination for more than half an hour. Now my talk is over. Without any moments of congregational singing, I call on you to stand or pray for you (from a distance). The response has been overwhelming. Teenagers are crying in the audience. Some leaders too. Everyone is prayed for.

The meeting is over. After three quarters of an hour it is already over. The teenagers will chat with their teams and team leader. We call that ‘InTeam’. A few questions regarding the talk appears on the screen and the groups form throughout the room and outside. Some groups talk for almost an hour. One group even more than 2 hours.

Other way around
We are amazed. Overwhelmed by the impact of the meeting, even though we didn’t sing. Now that we can do less, it seems as if God is working more powerfully. Where we have to let go of our ways, God is given the space to do something new. The meetings are shorter, the concentration is higher and the young people have more energy for the InTeam. But above all, we experience a unique blessing from heaven. At the end of the week we realize that God has worked even more powerfully than usual.

In the meantime, the first 4 weeks of Royal Adventure and MegaKids are over. 750 children, 625 teenagers and 250 leaders have now participated. Every week the impact is great and we are ‘put on display’ by God. The power is not in our songs or liturgy, but in trusting a God who works mightily. Especially in difficult circumstances His Name is exalted. Don’t be discouraged by what cannot be done, but be inspired by what God can do!

MegaKids and Royal Adventure will continue for the next 2 weeks. We are still looking for leaders. Visit https://zelhem.betteld.nl/programma for information and registration. Below you see the MegaKids leadership team in week 2. Great to work in such a team.

About Martin Koornstra

Getrouwd met Karin, 2 mooie dochters, passie voor Jezus, spreker, schrijver, trainer en een beetje gek!

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