Zerubbabel Focus: Z Youth!
The Zerubbabel Youth Ministry has come a long way over the past 15 years. At one time it consisted of a basement at the Hixton, Wisconsin conference center where the youth were relegated while the adults held their meetings upstairs. From those beginnings, a multi-faceted ministry has emerged which includes summer camp, conferences, and Z-news magazine. The most exciting part of the youth ministry, though, is that it is completely run by the youth (or young adults), several of whom were around during the basement days of Hixton.
The most important event of the year for the youth is definitely summer camp. About forty youths come from all over the country (and Britain, too) to Boone, North Carolina for a week of learning, fellowship, and fun. The highlight of camp for many youths in the older group is the teaching led by Scott Prewitt. This year the topic for camp was responsibility, which included lessons on accountability, steward-ship, and service. Scott focused on the responsibility that God has given us as stewards of this world (Gen. 1:26) and used a great analogy from the business world to express this point. He likened us to employees of a company which he called "God Unlimited" of which God is the boss. As employees, we have a model employee named Jesus Christ to follow, a trainer named Holy Spirit who will actually teach us and act through us, and an employee manual, the Bible.
We also talked about the importance of being accountable to fellow Christians while we are on this earth because the Bible promises that we will all have to give an account to God for everything that we do during our lives. We took time during a couple of evenings to split up into small groups to have a chance for more intimate sharing. We stressed the importance of confessing sin and staying accountable on a regular basis as we all shared and encouraged each other.
Service, another aspect of responsibility, was not only discussed in our lessons, but also lived out during the week of camp as we went out to work in the community. During the week, we helped paint houses, mow lawns, and clean up houses for people in the community who needed help, but most importantly we were living testimonies to Christ who lives through us. Robyn Resset was in charge of the legwork and organized all of the youth into teams with an itinerary planned for each group.
While Scott was in charge of teaching the older group, the middle and younger groups were taught by committee this year. Carson Coatney prepared the material for the middle group while Vicki Bedell and Dacia Trethewey worked on lessons for the younger group. Several of the youth leaders took turns teaching the middle group during the week, while some of the older campers were given the opportunity to teach the younger group. This was a great opportunity for younger people to take a leadership role, and it was a real success. Everyone enjoyed their time with the two younger groups, who really responded to the lessons and the interest that all of the teachers showed them.
Before the lesson every morning we had a morning watch led by a pair of campers, followed by singing. Of course, we also had lots of fun activities planned which included the now traditional pizza and movie night and the Thursday night trip to the Scotchman for snacks. Every year at the end of camp, everyone says, "This was the best camp yet," and this year was no exception. Perhaps the only exception this year was the amount of planning and preparation that went into camp. Starting well before camp, Scott Prewitt, Tony Mansoor, Robyn Resset, Vicki Bedell, Dacia Tretheway, and Carson and Elliot Coatney began meeting together to begin planning. We divided up camp preparations into several different aspects and we each had an aspect that we were responsible for organizing and planning. Then during camp we would often have short staff meetings to make decisions and to discuss how the week was going. It was amazing to see how smoothly camp went and how well all of our planning worked out so well that I think we would all say, "This was the best camp yet!"
While camp may be the most important event of the year for the Zerubbabel Youth Ministry, there is a lot that continues to go on throughout the whole year. We hold youth conferences in England twice a year, one in Boone every spring, and have held weekend conferences in several cities over the years. These conferences all have a format similar to a shortened camp with lessons, singing, sharing, and fun. We also have Bible Study every Sunday in Boone for the youth here, led by Dacia and Vicki.
In between camp and conferences, many of the youth stay in touch with each other by phone, mail, and e-mail. Since e-mail is instantaneous and free, it has quickly become the choice method of communication for those who have access to a computer, but it can never replace the personal, but more expensive phone call. It’s always exciting to hear news from everyone, and plenty of sharing goes on across the phone lines. With everyone in Boone interested in the lives of all the out-of-towners, news from our friends spreads quickly among the people that live here.
So that we can stay even more in tune with each other and have another opportunity to fellowship together here in Boone, we are starting a monthly Friday Night Alive. All of the youth in Boone (and anyone who lives close enough to come) get together on one Friday night a month for a meal, a lesson, and a night of fellowship and fun activities. Our first one was held December 19, and we hope that many more will follow.
Another important aspect of the Zerubbabel Youth Ministry is Z-News, which is our quarterly magazine that we send out to over 400 people. Z-News was started in 1989 and just sent out its 20th issue in the fall of 1997. Like the rest of the youth ministry, Z-News has changed dramatically over the years and is continuing to change. The Z-News is now published out of Boone with Dacia as the Chief Editor. Just recently, we held an organizational meeting for Z-News and divided up responsibilities and assignments for the production of the magazine similar to the way that we planned and divided up the responsibilities for camp this year. With everyone involved aware of their responsibilities and deadlines and accountable to everyone else to keep up with them, we expect to see even greater improvement in Z-News issues to come. This year at camp we even discussed the possible formation of another magazine for the youth so that we could target different age-groups. While this is still in the future, we hope that at some point it will become a reality as more people take an interest in and contribute to Z-News.
Like The Intercessor, Z-News aims to spread the message of "Christ in You" to its readers. We also try to give young people practical help and advice for facing daily struggles and being a light to people around them. As always, Bible lessons and testimonies will continue to be a part of Z-News, as well as letters, pictures, and conference reports, which help to keep people connected and in touch through the year. We are also excited to be including several new features in 1998 which will include movie and music reviews from a Christian perspective and articles on campus life and current issues. We will be sending out our next issue of Z-News to the entire Intercessor readership, so look out for it! We would be glad to add anyone to our subscriber list and welcome any response to the magazine.
Hopefully this article has given an idea of what the Zerubbabel Youth Ministry is all about. We are just a group of young adults who want to share the life of "Christ in us" and have a great time while doing it. While this sounds like a pretty simple statement, we have learned over the years that it takes faith, right believing, and being willing to put in the work on the front end to make it happen. With this said, Christ in us has been overwhelmingly able to work out the details of hosting summer camp, putting on conferences, teaching, organizing activities, leading music, producing a magazine, and doing everything else that He has in store for this youth ministry. Thanks to Him, we are able to enjoy the abundant life that He promises and share it with others.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 14 No 1
- What is this Human Self of Ours?
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Tony’s Testimony
- Zerubbabel Focus: Z Youth!
- British Conference Report
- Musings on the British Conference
- Bible Study: Undiscovered Self
- Body, Soul, and Spirit
- Questions & Answers
- Area Fellowship News: Boone
- The Mailbox
- Tape Talk
- New York Conference Report
- Youth Report: Fall Harvest in New York
- Anatomy of Unbelief
- Need–Evidence of Supply
- Words to Live By…