July 2023: My WhatsApp buzzed with a message from Pastor Shu Juan, youth pastor of Kingdom Life Community Church:
“Our youth ministry will be having a youth camp on 10-14 December in Port Dickson. We would like to invite you to speak in our camp Would you be available to be our camp speaker?”
Well … Available? Yes. But me, youth camp speaker? And Port Dickson is so far away! Hmmm….. hence, my reply …
“Thanks for invitation to speak at youth camp. Can we chat more about it so I understand the brief first?”
I wanted to make it very clear to Pastor Shu Juan that I am not really a youth ministry type of guy. Sure, I have seven children. But it takes a certain personality to relate to the younger ones and to do youth ministry. And this young senior may not be the best fit. What’s more? It’s been a packed year so far and the months leading up to December were challenging ones too.
And that was how the phone conversation started – with me trying to wriggle out of this invitation. But when Pastor Shu Juan shared the theme of “ARISE IN CHRIST” with the key verse of Ephesians 5:14, I was shocked. The Lord had already shown me that Ephesians 5:14-17 is critical for the times and the seasons, causing me to anchor AWE2023 on this passage, prompting me to share the same message whenever an opportunity was presented. There was no way out of this at all! And so, quite immediately, I said ‘yes’.
The months rolled by and the time came for us (Serene & I) to make our way to the campsite in Port Dickson, Malaysia. Firstly, travelling up with Pastor Benjamin and Pastor Lillian, we had a good time catching up and getting to know one another better. One thing is so clear: They have such a heart for the young ones. And this would become more and more evident as we observed them over the next days at camp.
When we arrived, we were met with warm and enthusiastic members of the core team. Their hearts were to serve from the very onset. Walking into our room, we were pleasantly greeted by a welcome letter from Senior Pastor, complete with a whole welcome pack of snacks and drinks (TWG tea & Bacha Coffee no less!) – very much like what one would see in a premium hotel suite. Later that evening, we met the campers and our hearts readily went out to them.
Over six session across four days, I shared the Archippus Awakening message (no surprises here) along the camp theme “ARISE IN CHRIST”. What caught our hearts was how ready and hungry the campers were to be awakened, aligned and assigned for Jesus and His kingdom. Each session would start with an extended time of worship where we saw them give all they had to the Lord – they jumped, sang, knelt, cried. I was allowed to take as much time as required to get deep into the Word and teaching. You would think that these would fall asleep as this uncle rattled on. But no! They were wide awake, attentive, taking down everything diligently. Yes, pen and paper, taking notes; not with their mobile phones. When the time came for a response, they were dead serious in wanting all the Lord for them, not wanting anything to hinder or hold them back.
In between sessions, Ps Benjamin & Ps Lillian made special effort to take us out so we get to see a little more of Port Dickson than just the Methodist Centre. We learnt so much more about them and from them. As they shared about how they poured into these young lives and how many of them had encountered healing and deliverance by Jesus from very challenging situations and relationships, we understood the most essential and critical ingredient to raising this generation. It is not more programmes or more information but a real heart for these young hearts.
I went to KLCC Youth Camp to teach and impart. Yet, I ended up receiving and learning so much from these young ones. There was a certain energy, spirit, enthusiasm, power. Surely, God will raise this generation for the purposes of His kingdom. We just need to do it His way and not in the way that we may be normally used to. To catch this generation, we have to catch God’s heart for them.
This year, Archippus Awakening started to move more intentionally to reach the younger ones through a fresh initiative called a+ (pronounced a-plus) – little ‘a’ to represent younger Archippuses; and ‘+’ that symbolises the cross and also the letter ‘t’ that stands for the thirties, twenties and the tens (teens). Crossing into 2024, I will be praying for more hearts to have the Lord’s heart for these young hearts.
Thank you, Kingdom Life Community Church, for the invitation through Pastors Benjamin, Lillian & Shu Juan to partner you in your kingdom assignment. Thank you also for showing and teaching us what it means to love and disciple younger ones, to raise a rising generation for Jesus and His kingdom – awakened aligned assigned.