Myself, along with my fellow Church friends would spend the next week in a town north of Hobart named Dysart with a couple hundred young adults from around Australia for the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia (CRCA) Youth Convention.
The theme for Convention was Dare! It is one thing to believe in God, but putting aside our selfish ambitions and sinful ways to follow Him is tough, especially in today's world. Over a series of 4 talks called: Head, Heart, Hands, Together; we learnt how to do this, as well as practical ways to bring this back into our lives at home.
The "Head" talk used a simple analogy to show the message. We were asked to think that we were Paratroopers in World War II and that we were going to Convention, Church, Youth Group as a way to prepare for battle. By reading the Bible, studying God's word and praying, it was the equivalent of a Bible Boot Camp.
The analogy of Paratroopers in WWII was that they were dropped behind enemy lines early on D-Day morning helping prepare the invasion that was coming later. As Christians in a modern world where we are now in the minority, we are behind enemy lines and with our knowledge of the Gospel we can help prepare for the return of Jesus by spreading the word and sharing to everyone we know
The "Heart" talk we learnt about having a deep relationship with The Lord, We were told how we need to have a daily routine of spending time with Him and not just ticking a box on our daily check list but a genuine time spent with Him, praying, reading, studying His Word.
Once we begin to do this we can see real change in our lives and a transformed view of how we interact with others with a Heart for Christ. We should have a desire to please God and be a faithful servant to Him.
The "Hands" talk spoke about how we need to get them dirty, whether it is in missions, the local church, youth or various other programs we should set about serving The Lord with gladness. We also learnt about being 'Radically Ordinary', to keep on keeping on with our work, studies and day to day routine.
It is quite easy to be mediocre and not give our best effort, but to be radically ordinary was a rallying cry to serve Him in everything we do, we don't work for money, our boss nor do we study to have better knowledge but we work and study to use the gifts given to us by The Lord so that we can serve Him.
"Together" really was a summary of the previous talks, by having our Head straight, Heart right and our Hands dirty we can live our daily lives at work, study and church by being radically ordinary, being more than mediocre and serving The Lord in all that we do.
Each of these talks was the daily theme over the week. We had the talk in the morning, the middle of the day was devoted to various programs we might attend. They were the 'Grapple Session' where we talked more about the morning's topic in an open discussion, the 'Leadership Community Tea' where learnt about practical tips to bring back to our Youth Groups and the last program was 'The Forum' which was a Q&A with the speaker from the mornings talk.
The afternoon had activities that we could participate in. When it was wet outside a film was played in the marquee, included was "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" this film had a huge following by those at the camp due to the scene involving 'The Chop' a repetitious bending of the arm in a chopping motion while singing out a war chant to spur on Robin Hood to win at Archery. The Chop was used throughout Convention as a way to single out campers who had lost their lanyards on the walk of shame to collect them of a morning
An interstate volleyball tournament was also held which to the chagrin of the other states NSW won the final against WA. We also had trips to a wildlife sanctuary to see some Tassie Devils, Wombats, Kangaroos and Koalas who have been orphaned, hurt on the side of the road or injured so that they can get back to full health to be released back into the wild.
The evening sessions had a rally performance by the band as well as performances by campers in the village from an open mic night to a bush dance each night had a different performance. The last night a disco was held which was loud and great fun that didn't end till late at night.
With heavy hearts we packed up our belongings and the camp was finished. Everyone began the trip back home to our various corners of the country. My groups trip wasn't over just yet, we stayed the next couple of days at Senator the Hon Eric Abetz home. Eric whilst being a Liberal Senator in Parliament also attends Kingston Christian Reformed Church who the current Pastor at my Church use to be positioned at.
Home away from home
His wife Michelle accommodated around 30 of us and provided plenty of meals, washing of clothes and sleeping arrangements as we toured around Hobart. Sleep was overrated as it was a 'Convention After Party' of sorts that ended well after midnight talking, laughing with others from the past week.
We visited the Mona Museum which held many weird and wild artworks, an afternoon drive out to Port Arthur to sight see, a late night trip up to Mount Wellington to get a view of the Aurora Australis, though we didn't see the night lights we saw many shooting stars and satellites go over head. Tasmania is a lovely place, quiet, peaceful and spectacular views it is a different lifestyle to Sydney but one I would live in one day.
Like most great trips, this one came to an end and the daily grind of work started back up as our routine of our day-to-day lives began again. I was encouraged by Convention to keep on keeping on, to live a radically ordinary life and serve the Lord in all that I do with gladness. The next Convention by popular demand is Western Australia in 2016 – can't wait!
Christopher Archibald lives in Sydney and works for a company that sells building and construction materials. A supporter of the Penrith Panthers in the NRL, he hopes 2014 will not be another "re-building" year.
Christopher Archibald's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/christopher-archibald.html