Abundant Springs 2019
By Gerald D. Reimer, Director of Youth and Discipleship
For some students and leaders Abundant Springs 2019 will be remembered as the weekend when they gave their lives to Jesus, they committed to reading their Bible more faithfully, they won the basketball tournament, they worshipped Jesus with thanksgiving, they confirmed in their hearts a desire to get baptized, and so much more.
As someone who’s had the privilege of attending 14 Abundant Springs events through my lifetime, including 11 as an EMC staff member, I am continually amazed at what God does, not only at the event itself, but also during the few months before and after. I’m referring to the dozens of God-moments through the years that I’ve witnessed, and the hundreds more that I’m not aware of, that bring me to tears of thankfulness.
In small and big ways God has used Abundant Springs to transform people’s hearts, especially teenagers who are wrestling with what Faith means and why they matter to an all-loving God.
This year was no different. As our committee prayerfully worked our way through all the planning details (and, yes, the National Youth Committee spends the first 30 to 45 minutes of each meeting in the Word and in prayer), we reminded one another that students all across Canada, including EMC students, are in God’s hands and we can trust Him to accomplish His purposes, whether we get it all right in our planning or not.
Yet this does not minimize the need for our diligence in doing our best to plan a high- quality event, paying attention to every detail and continually learning and adjusting every year. Whether it’s growing our prayer ministry and counselling services, keeping our workshop topics relevant, strengthening our connection with Steinbach Bible College, stream-lining our First Aid services, or expanding our activity options both indoors and out, we long to find ways to make every component of the weekend point to Jesus.
One segment of our schedule that stands out in terms of being meaningful for leaders to engage with their students is our “youth group” time. On Saturday and Sunday evenings of the event we set aside an hour-plus time for youth groups to meet and talk about what they’re all hearing and learning and being challenged on in their spiritual lives. This continues to be a critical component as leaders debrief with students and help them articulate their questions and personal decisions they’re making regarding their faith journey. We continue to look for ways to strengthen that aspect of our discipleship weekend.
Several years ago we did a Re-imagine Abundant Springs study to find out if we should continue to run the event as is or make major changes to the content, location, time, and so on. We received overwhelming support from our churches to not only carry on, but to strengthen the impact a weekend like this has on the lives of our students and leaders.
We are thankful for the support of our churches and would love to see every church send someone to Abundant Springs on May 21-24, 2021!