After a two year hiatus, the conference center in Turner, Oregon, pulsed with life amid record attendance during Centrifuge, an annual youth camp sponsored by the Northwest Baptist Convention.
While seeking to deepen spiritual journeys with God, students and leaders bonded with others from 25 Northwest Baptist churches that joined with others in fun-filled hours throughout the week at Aldersgate Camps and Retreats.
First time attender Julie Ulm brought youth from Harvest Community Church in Eugene after her own children participated in Centrifuge in previous years.
“I have been impressed with how well run it has been, not just for the students, but for leaders as well,” Ulm said.
“I can focus on my students and am so thankful our church paid the way for our non-churched youth to attend,” she added. “For them to be here — and other adults pouring into their lives — has been great and seeing them mingling with other kids while learning about discipleship and obedience.”
A group of 23 joined the camp from Sound City Bible Church in Martha Lake, Washington.
“The worship experience each evening has been powerful,” said 16- year-old-junior Noah Repp, another first-time Fuge attender.
Escaping ‘the bubble’
“It’s nice to get away from my phone and part-time job and I’ve been encouraged to get out of my bubble,” Repp noted. “I’ve met really nice people here and was able to attend smaller groups that I chose on creative writing and leadership.”
“I was the prodigal child and while I was always at church it was for reasons other than Jesus,” Spurlin said.
He added, “But my Grandpa loved Jesus more than anyone I know, felt the Lord tell him I would be a pastor and never wavered in his belief in me. But it was really God pursuing me when I was wandering and [Grandpa] just asked me to be obedient in the next step. I went from being a jerk athlete to a guy who handed out ‘Jesus loves’ bracelets.
‘Church of today’
“I still have moments of disobedience but God first calls us to be obedient in the small things,” he added. “The enemy will try and deceive us about our identity in Christ, and [Jesus] modeled for us to obey even when it doesn’t make sense. The work He did on the cross gives us the hope we need today. What would our schools look like if we sold out to him?”
Spurlin reminded students they are not the church tomorrow, but the church of today, and their faith begins and ends with obedience to his calling on their life.