The result of weeks of prayer, planning and preparation were about to descend upon Holloway SDA Church on 13 September 2014. The youth hall had been cleared and the chairs carefully arranged to receive an unprecedented number of young people for the first youth church of its kind in Holloway’s history.
As the clock approached 11am, the queue had started forming outside. The pianist stroked the keys with the chords of a familiar hymn; the Praise Team hummed gently as they made final adjustments to the mikes Pastor Alec sat poised behind the preaching stand, as groups of teenagers and young adults stepped through the swinging double doors to take their seats in the worship circle.
No one expected Youth Church to be filled to the capacity that it was that Sabbath. By 11.30am the hall was filled with over 80 young people of all ages and backgrounds, ready to fully engage in the worship service, which they all did.
“You are making history today” Pastor Alec said as he addressed the crowd of happy faces. It was clear that many had invited friends, family and their children to share the historical experience with them. But this is not to become a one time event, Holloway Youth Church is about creating an environment where young people who have or have not professed a faith in Jesus can bring their prayers, questions, testimonies, praise and offerings to God without inhibition. It’s meant to be a safe environment where people feel comfortable sharing their weakness and challenges without fear of judgement or ridicule.
There was no holding back the youth when it came to giving testimonies that day; hearts were uplifted and encouraged as countless people shared breakthroughs with their health, families, finances, work and studies. How many of these testimonies would have gone amiss without an environment where the youth could feel comfortable sharing with their peers what God had brought them through that week?
As Pastor Alec highlighted in his sermon about the rich young ruler, many people still believe Christianity is something that you do, rather than something that you are. The rich young ruler met the real Jesus that day and realized that in fact the things that he thought he owned actually owned him! As the group pondered on these final words and the closing song was sung, the young people clearly wanted to linger a little longer in the atmosphere with their peers and with God, which is what Youth Church is all about.
Holloway Youth Church is a parallel service to the main church service held at Holloway SDA Church from 11:15am – 1pm, in the Youth Hall, the second Sabbath of every month.