On the 13th & 14th April this year, over thirty people from various multicultural churches in the BUV, gathered together for the Ignite Emerging Leaders Retreat, held at Camp Wilkin. About 30 people from many different, mostly mono-cultural migrant churches. Though their English is perfect, the younger ones of our migrant church rarely mix with others from different a different heritage or background. The camp was important as this was an opportunity for them to share their common second-gen faith journey.
As followers of Jesus there was much to share of their experiences in leadership of bi-lingual ministry and mission. Fascinating. Fun, stimulating and challenging discussions were shared, and below is a reflection on the time together by one of our Korean second-gen Uni students, Ms Yerin Song, from Bentleigh Baptist Church:
During the retreat, it was evident that the people who were gathered there had very different experiences. Experiences of their journey to Australia, experiences of church and faith, experiences of culture and most importantly a very diverse experience of our journey with God. However, these varying experiences shared within the planned sharing and brainstorming times as well as the free times, did not separate us. It instead created an environment for us as individuals to explore the great ways in which God works within our churches, communities and our personal journeys. The retreat was special in a way, where the differences brought us together. It was a safe place for each and every person to feel encouraged to share our unique experiences and perspectives – something that we don’t often experience within the society, or sometimes even within our own community.
The retreat in a way, with the great meals shared, reminded us of that kind of fellowship Jesus wants us to partake in. Sharing, engaging, getting to know each other, opening up about our struggles, our joys and our hopes… and all of these were happening in the retreat! People were passionate to talk about what was happening in their churches and youth groups. The leaders were passionate in talking about their hopes for the youth of their churches. We were passionate in discussing how this Ignite Conference could help our young people grow in their faith, get closer to Jesus, to know Him better and have fun while doing it! We pray that the young people of Melbourne through this conference come united, under Jesus, defying all odds of language and cultural barriers. We talked of how we could make the next Ignite multicultural youth and young adults conference (on 6&7 July) more relevant to our young people, so that the message of the Gospel “.. So flawed that Jesus had to die for me, so loved that He so gladly did!” (Shameless Tim Keller plug) could be communicated in a way, which truly helped each and every one of our young people attending be nourished so they can flourish in their day-to-day lives.
So overall, it was such a rewarding experience, being able to engage with other people who are also leading within their local areas. Not only was this rewarding in a way that we got to grow our connections and network, but also in a way that we were learning of what was happening around us, seeing where God had placed people’s hearts and broadening our focus from ‘my’ local church to ‘us’; the greater church.
Through this retreat we saw passionate and faithful individuals wanting to make a change, wanting to do life with people and to love our young people. Through the Ignite Conference we collectively; as youth and young adult leaders of the local churches, hope to see a group of youth gathered in the Name of Jesus, passionately worshiping Jesus and getting closer to Him. We hope this conference also ignites the hearts of the youth, so that God’s living and active words are lived out, changing the church, community and society through our unity in Christ.
We as individuals hope to continue to share our hopes and visions, and passion for Jesus and our young people. We hope and pray that we experience unity among the multicultural churches, that this unity exemplifies Christ’s love, and that this conference be a catalyst for change, for Unity, for God’s glory.
Youth and leaders can come and experience our BUV fantastic IGNITE Conference on Friday & Saturday, 6 and 7 July during the school holiday.