Last summer we were allowed to lead the youth program for the 6th time at the Free His Summer Week. Our theme for the young people was SUPERNOVA. This is the phenomenon where a star explodes in a spectacular manner and increases in brightness. This gigantic eruption produces beautiful, multi-colored light that radiates into space and illuminates the entire galaxy. The idea for this theme comes from Paul. He writes that we shine like stars in the sky in a dark world. You may feel like an insignificant star, but God wants to give you a SUPERNOVA. He is ready to overwhelm your life with power and color. You deserve to be seen and that’s what this week was all about. It was an unforgettable week with 300 young people and a team of 35 wonderful leaders. Still, you might wonder how meaningful such a week is? Of course it’s fun and beautiful things happen, but will that last? Do young people really change or is it ‘again’ a boost that wears off quickly? We realize that not all choices made during such a week will actually be implemented. We know you can get carried away by the moment. We recognize that the group and perhaps even peer pressure can lead you to statements or actions that you later no longer support. But isn’t that the case with every activity? Doesn’t that also happen at your work or at your sports club? Isn’t your behavior determined or at least influenced by the people or friends around you? If so, that is no reason to downplay the impact of such weeks! Let me list a number of arguments why I am so enthusiastic about weeks such as the Free Being Summer Week or the Royal Adventure weeks at De Betteld.
- Unique experiences have enormous impact
Young people are at an age where impressive moments have much more impact than when you get older. I used to go home feeling homesick after every children’s or teen camp. Now I go home tired after such an event and I am happy to sleep in my own bed again.
- They make important decisions
The young people during these weeks are in a phase of life where huge decisions are being made. They choose studies, think about living/working, decide what to do with their time/money/talents, are looking for a life partner… and are shaping their worldview. When you are older, most of these things are already fixed or difficult to change. During such a week the desire regularly arises to go to Bible school and they often do so!
- They grow towards stability
Young people are not yet completely stable. Teenagers in particular regularly dart back and forth. That is why it is even necessary that they receive a regular boost in the right direction. I remember when I gave my life to Jesus as a 7-year-old child. Yet I still ‘converted’ at least 5 times at a camp or special teen day. Apparently it was necessary to get me through that chaotic time.
- Renewal of their view on faith
Working together intensively for a week creates much more openness and also more strength. Young people experience God’s presence in such an intense way that their image of church and faith undergoes a significant change. They discover that believing and being a Christian is very current and not boring.
- Special friendships
Many young people are very alone in their faith and spiritual quest. During these weeks they see and speak to peers who are also going for it. That’s where real friendships arise. Research shows that young people discover and maintain their faith mainly by hanging out with peers who also believe. That happens during these weeks! There are many more reasons why these weeks are valuable and yield lasting fruit. My own life is proof of this, resulting in a SUPERNOVA. That is why we will continue with MEGAKIDS, Royal Adventure, RAW and the Free His Summer Week, so that more and more young people will discover Jesus and follow Him unconditionally. Give young people the opportunity to participate in these weeks and events, because it will also give their lives a real SUPERNOVA! Let me conclude with our core text during SUPERNOVA: ‘ Arise and shine, your light has come, the glory of the LORD shines on you .’ Isaiah 60:1
See and hear our festive SUPERNOVA theme song