The Focus Recipe:
- Take 130 people, six teams (and a dash of healthy competition), one week at Quinta Hall, hours of energetic worship and unlimited encounters with God.
- Add crazy costumes, wacky games, a campfire, a water fight, litres of hot chocolate, handfuls of sweets and a few sleepless nights (completed in advance by the admin team).
- Combine all of the ingredients together and sprinkle generously with love before cooking at a high temperature for an experience like no other!
For the benefit of those readers who haven’t yet experienced Focus, I’m afraid my description may well fall short. You see, Focus is rather unusual to say the least. On the surface you’ll find crazy costumes and wacky games, old and young alike dressed absurdly throwing themselves into the strangest of activities, but if you look closely you’ll find a greater joy: the refreshing expression of Christ-like love through fun, friendship and family. The distinctive family ethos at the heart of Focus encourages the teen servers and adults to put aside their own agendas, to ‘keep the main thing the main thing’, ensuring the delegates (aged 9-11) feel completely free to discover and enjoy God in their own way.
The theme for Focus 2012 was ‘Into the world with Jesus’. Together we learnt and experienced how we can get filled by the Holy Spirit, train with God and go out into our worlds with Him. This, of course, involved lots of fun and lots of noise! The fabulous Entertainment Team and Morning Meeting Crew kept us on our feet (and upside down at times!), Jackie and her team kept our stomachs full and Martyn kept us chanting and singing until our voices grew hoarse. Owen got us thinking, Jill and Fraser worked our spiritual muscles and Sandra had us navigating our way through life’s maze with the help of the Holy Spirit – described so aptly by one child as ‘our tour guide to heaven’.
On the closing night the whole family got stuck in and the delegates themselves offered their own testimonies and wisdom to encourage us all to share our wonderful God with our wonderful world. The final night also showcased the incredible talent gleaned in Wednesday’s workshops and of course revealed the final result of the teams’ efforts throughout the week. Despite insane efforts from the Krazy Kenyans and Mad Mexicans, ninja strength from the Jazzy Japanese and all the ‘ooh la la’ the Fancy French could muster…the Awesome Aussies had us all jumping like Skip as they deservingly took the gold.
Although this award of first prize was well celebrated, Focus 2012 saw many more firsts as both children and adults discovered more about God and stepped out into new things. Some were filled with the Spirit for the first time, others found a new freedom in worship and encountered a fun-loving God in a way they didn’t know was possible. For many children, their breakthrough came from feeling totally accepted, free to be themselves and have the confidence to make new friends. Each and every individual encountered love and encountered God. 1 John 4v8 tells us that they are, in fact, one and the same.
I’m pretty sure God enjoys Focus just as much as we do, if not more! He delights to see His kids being who He’s made them to be, loving life and loving on others. How exciting to nurture and release a future generation of world changers, who go into the world with Jesus and infect their surroundings with His love! For all you parents, pastors and kids/youth workers…your children are gold. They are made in the image of God and He is well pleased with them. They are way more powerful than we realise and God is way more fun than we realise. So join us in our mission (indeed, our privilege) to love and empower them into their destiny! As every Focus helper discovers each year – God will do what He does so brilliantly, we simply serve and welcome His presence into their lives.
The children themselves are the testimony, so to finish here are just a few extracts from their own personal accounts of Focus 2012…no editing needed.
What was your favourite moment at Focus?
“The water fight; and just being part of a family where people look out for you.”
“Talking to God in my room and getting prayed for before bed and of course getting told I’m special.”
“Talking to people and making new friends.”
“I couldn’t say. It’s been an amazing, memorable experience. I will never forget this.”
What did you like about Focus?
“I like that it’s fun and serious at the same time. Like ‘funious’, and you get new friends”
“Just being free to worship and express yourself and always having a really calm, gentle and loving atmosphere around you.”
“Everything. It is the best! Basketball, praise and worship, cooking, the wacky morning meetings, the small groups, the evening meetings.”
What have you learnt this week?
“To have fun and let go of myself. Be who I really am.”
“I have learnt how easy it is to be with God and talk to Him and worship Him. I also learnt to look at God as a best friend and that He is always there if I ever need to talk to anyone.”
“That God loves us all and that being a Christian doesn’t have to be boring.”
To be a part of this extra-special recipe in 2013 please go to: www.lifechangingcamps.co.uk
(Please note that places are limited so first come first served!)
Theology Days ReportThey were called Theology Days but perhaps should have been called Fellowship in the Word Days. These were two days held recently at Nettle Hill when a couple of dozen of us gathered to consider the subject of Covenant.
The current trend is to meet together for times of encounter with the Spirit, or for learning how to 'do the stuff'. A much neglected activity is to meet together in the Word, to enjoy a corporate ministry of the Spirit in the scriptures.
And what a feast we had. I was so blessed. We considered the, for a number of us, very familiar subject of Covenant but with a difference. We were treated to excellent ministry from Tony Ling, Rob Anderson & Adam McKeown as well as having good times of small and whole group discussion.
A major emphasis of Tony's ministry was that the covenant into which God has brought us is friendship with himself, and with God's people. Our hearts burned as Rob opened a veritable treasure chest of covenant truths, with an emphasis on the 'blood' element of covenant. He pointed out how there was probably a revelation by God of the blood covenant to almost all primitive peoples throughout the world. Then came Adam with the truth that covenant is the Godhead's "eternal state of being". The extension of that covenant to include us is always plural in aspect, not singular.
As we say in Yorkshire 'it was better felt that telt'. Just sign up for the next Theology Days and come and enjoy the party.
By George Jarvis
Life Together - The Big Breakfast in June
We gathered from across the country to spend the day together and enjoy a BIG BREAKFAST, WORD and FELLOWSHIP. It was an excellent day with everyone working and enjoying Life Together. We enjoyed time together in the word alongside eating together and providing fun activities for the children. This was a day which many want to repeat.
Here are a few comments from those attending:-
A great time was had at, “The Big Breakfast” by the Stanton church family. We enjoyed fun, food & fellowship together. It was just the right mix of activities appealing to everyone on different stages of their journey. The kids had a fun time too as they hung out together & ate way too many cakes as did the rest of us oldies!
It was a real pleasure to catch up with people you don't see regularly & hear all their news. Well worth doing!
We really enjoyed the day as a family, it was good to get involved in the breakfast together, the atmosphere, very relaxed definitely helped getting to know new people better.
The feedback from all coming from MCF wasvery positive, it was good to explore the word together, there was good interaction with the people.