Canberra Christian Youth Convention

Ever been frustrated, trying to explain the terrific things you learned at a church conference to a friend who didn’t go? What you heard changed your life, but your friend cannot appreciate what has happened, because he wasn’t there. It’s much the same when you read or listen to God’s word: Scripture can make a thunderous impact on you life. But when you try to explain it to your friend, she somehow cannot get as excited as you. Have you had that experience?

I always had it after attending Katoomba Youth Conventions. I would return home to my friends in Canberra and explain animatedly that Helen Roseveare said this, or John Chapman said that. And they’d say, “Oh yeah, that’s nice”. Or I’d explain how we worked through consecutive sections of the Bible and how I had begun to understand the relevance of God’s word for my life … But the impact would be lost.

In all this, the answer seemed clear: I had to take all my friends with me! But no, there had to be a better answer. Of course: bring a convention to them! We needed a youth convention for Canberra.

1984 saw a group of us meet together and plan for a Canberra Christian Youth Convention (CCYC). We set ourselves aims and goals, and discussed plans and suggestions. If it was going to succeed, we had to ensure that God’s word was taught faithfully. This meant making a firm commitment to the divinely inspired and authoritative Scriptures, and holding to an unwavering belief in the centrality of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our most important task, then, was choosing the speakers. Choosing topics was much easier. We could operate from God’s menu with a staple diet of expository Bible teaching.

The powers that be in Canberra have granted our capital a holiday weekend each March, and we chose to use this weekend to hold our first CCYC in 1985. About 60 people came to be challenged and to respond to God’s guidance in Scripture. The following year, we looked at Colossians. For many, it was the first time they had ever heard a book of the Bible taught in its entirety.

In just a couple of weeks, we will be holding our fourth CCYC (March 18-21, 1988). John Woodhouse and Barry Newman will be speaking on the gospel in the Old Testament. They will be opening this often-neglected section of our Bibles to show how it, too, focuses on Jesus.

Our convention is not held in a tent with 6000 other people. But we, like Katoomba, measure our success only by faithfulness to God’s revelation in Scripture. Christians need to hear God’s word or they will dry up and shrivel away. So if you are hungry for it, or if you just long for your friends to have the Bible opened up for them, then do something about it: there is always plenty of room for initiative.

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