An inaugural youth convention brought over 200 young people, leaders, and volunteers from 11 British Columbia Christian Reformed churches to Gateway CRC in Abbotsford on a recent September weekend.
“For quite some time, a core of youth leaders on the lower mainland of British Columbia have struggled with the question of what to do about youth leaving the church,” said Shane Rozeveld, youth pastor at Maple Ridge CRC.
That was the primary motivation for developing a new approach—a gathering called “Re:Activate.” The event, which is specific to the CRC, is readily accessible to youth on the west coast.
Organized by a group of seven local youth pastors, the weekend focused on productivity, play, and partnership. Students were invited to explore God in everyday life and had opportunities to network with other CRC youth. Saturday afternoon activities included worship and song, mountain biking, hiking, white-water rafting, and service projects.
“World Renew was also represented at the event and was busy raising funds for water filters,” Rozeveld added. “It gave students opportunity to connect productivity with gratitude and giving.”
For Katya van der Leek, 16, of Fleetwood CRC in Surrey, this was the first time attending a big youth convention. “It was an awesome first experience,” she said. “It was so cool to be a part of such a big group of youth where we were praising our God through times of worship, learning, community building, and just plain old fun.”
Jewel Haak of Living Hope CRC in Abbotsford enjoyed the worship too. “I really enjoyed watching the artists sharing their talents during the worship times.”
Fourteen-year-old Braedon Howard, also from Living Hope CRC, took the weekend’s theme to heart. “I really enjoyed Re:Activate because it gave me a new outlook on all the little things and fun things in life and how we can live out our faith doing all those things.”