Vol 4 No. 36 Dive Deeper

I am very grateful to the Lord for the wonderful gathering of youth leaders, workers and youth themselves in Leipzeg, Germany for the Baptist World Alliance Youth Conference. Ryan Sato, the former CBWC Youth Director and the new Senior Pastor at First Baptist Edmonton did a great job of working with our partner denominations across Canada in setting up a Canada contingent to attend. We are grateful to him and all the youth workers who played a vital part in facilitating and co-ordinating such a tremendous effort.

I have asked Claire McLean, our Interim Youth Director, to write some reflections on the time she spent in Germany with everyone. We are excited that Claire will be with us for the next number of months in helping continue the work that Ryan began and in helping us discern how this vital and important ministry can grow in our denomination.



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell


Dive Deeper, Leipzig, Germany

This summer from July 30th to August 3rd, 2008 I had the privilege of attending the 15th Baptist World Alliance Youth Conference in Leipzig, Germany.  Over 6,000 people from all across the world joined together to worship and ‘Dive Deeper’ into relationship with God (the theme for this year).

Though the Conference for me personally was a great chance to get oriented in my new role – I was able to spend a couple of days with Ryan, and get to know a number of key Youth Leaders at both a national and regional level – the highlight was hearing from the Youth themselves.  They were brimming with excitement about the Short Term Missions opportunities they had either just returned from, or were about to embark upon:

For some the Conference was a chance to acclimatise to Europe: to get the travel-bug and the natural desire to sightsee out of their systems; to be ministered to (during the sessions and workshops in Leipzig); and then to spiritually prepare as a team.  At the end of the Conference they were ready to be released to go out and minister to others on their Short Term Mission (STM).

For others their STM had already taken place, and the Conference was an opportunity for them to debrief as a team: to worship together; to give thanks together; to talk and process their experiences in an unrushed and natural manner.  Leipzig for them was the time to let the life-changing experiences they had shared together sink in.

It was the missions either side of ‘Dive Deeper’ that truly made the Conference.  Although there were over 200 of us staying in ‘Canada House’ the various groups could remain independent.  Perhaps it was only when they found themselves socialising in a confined space (at the Canada Party hosted by Shauna Williams) that realisation dawned.  ‘What do we have in common?’  A couple of months previously the answer would likely have been ‘nothing!’ (at least in the minds of teenagers feeling awkward at meeting new peers).  Now the answer was ‘Short Term Missions’.  The Canadian Baptists were bonded by the common experience of sharing Jesus and serving others, and though the locale may have been different, the impact was similar: whether a young person had been to Rwanda or France, the Chezk Republic or Kenya, they could relate to and talk to anyone else in the room.

It is often remarked that the true beneficiaries of STMs are not those who are served, but those of us who go and serve.  Many young lives were impacted this summer in a way that they will never forget.  Our Youth Leaders deserve high praise for the way in which they disciple the young people in their care; and we look forward to having more groups join us, as we serve on home soil next summer during SERVE ’09.