Hundreds of youths and young adults gathered at the Rock Tower in Tufnell Park on Sabbath, 31 December 2022, for the last South England Conference (SEC) Youth Day of Fellowship for the year.
The event started well with icebreakers from Isaac Fletcher asking us to reflect on the past year and look forward to 2023. He challenged us to: reach someone who doesn't know Christ, don't take anything for granted, spend quality time with friends and family, say no to something and pursue Christ with vigour. These should be our goals for 2023. Isaac set the premise for the whole event, entitled 'Lifeline 2', looking at reflection, thankfulness and hope for 2023.
Pastor Anthony Fuller reminded us that God looks at the heart. We can get distracted by feelings, and sometimes we can't trust them, but we must remind ourselves that God's presence is enough. He is enough. With our hearts in tune with God, we can see the beauty in everything. He never promised a trouble-free life, but every situation and storm can inspire and encourage us and others. Our testimony may be precisely what the other person needs to hear.
He then handed the mic to the congregation to share 1-minute testimonies from the passing year. Many accepted the challenge and inspired all those present with their words of perseverance and faith. Through trials and tribulation, God is present.
After this reflection and praise, we moved on to a time of prayer and anointing. To start, everyone broke into small groups of 5 or so and prayed together. The whole church was filled with the hum of shared prayer – such a powerful and beautiful time to come together.
Then came a time of anointing. Pastors Anthony Fuller, Kevin Johns, and Eglan Brooks, along with Elders Acquah, Adams, Brooks and Campbell, led the anointing service. Queues of young people lined up to be anointed and prayed over.
The praise team intertwined the segments throughout the service with powerful music and vocals. Each component was accompanied by a song linking the service effortlessly from point to point. Some songs, such as 'Everlasting God', had everyone on their feet as they sang along. Other songs, such as 'Great is Thy Faithfulness', gave time for contemplation and reflection, homing in on the powerful lyrics.
Fuller focused on the song 'He Lives (I Serve a Risen Saviour)', emphasising that anyone can read the lyrics and sing the song, but this writer wrote this out of his experience. 'He lives within my heart!' is personal and pure. We must embrace change and step outside our comfort zones to grow. We should be saying 'Lord, use me' at every avenue. Isaiah 43:18-19 calls for us to forget the former things and concentrate on the new. Some of us allow the past to hold us back, preventing us from seeing the future, and he encouraged us to reach out to someone to talk to and take time to reflect and be present with God.
To end the day, Fuller made an appeal emphasising that change starts with us. Many young people are leaving the church because often the church environment is sadly not the place they can realise and develop their calling. Everyone is filled with creativity and talent, and we aren't embracing and encouraging each other enough.
As we start this new year, we should be more mindful of those around us. We must encourage one another with love and understanding to better be the church of God.