More than 200 youth and adult sponsors gathered in Grindelwald, Switzerland, for Euroventure 2016, 2-7 July. The theme for the week was “the Well” based on “…a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
Euroventure is a week-long experience filled with a balance of spiritual growth, physical activity, fun and games, fellowship, and worship.
Mornings began with a worship time, looking at the theme story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. Tom Hufty, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Mayville, Illinois (USA), and 20+-years speaker at Euroventure, led the morning Bible studies. Team times followed the worship service each morning, allowing the students to explore the Scripture passage more and to build team spirit and camaraderie. Team times were led by volunteers from IBC churches as well as college students from Hannibal-LaGrange University (Missouri) and Oklahoma Baptist University.
In his Sunday morning message, Hufty said that we live in the land of labels. The Samaritan woman (John 4) also carried labels — loser in relationships, lonely, poor decision-maker, outcast. Her encounter with Jesus though changed her. Like the Samaritan women, Hufty said, we need to put on the label that God gives us.
During his Monday message, Hufty said that initially the woman at the well was playing the question game with Jesus. For each question Jesus asked, she answered with another question. Jesus, though, turned this casual conversation into a critical one. When we drink from the well of living water — from the well of Jesus’ love — our sin is confronted but we taste His forgiveness; our fakeness was revealed but we trusted His faithfulness; and our fear was relieved when we tasted of His friendship.
When we drink living water, Hufty said in his Tuesday message, it affects us in four different ways — our attitude, our beliefs, our control, and our decisions. You are your best, he said, when you are you.
On Wednesday morning, Hufty reminded the group, that they were the salt of the earth. While salt preserves and enhances flavor, it also makes you thirsty. Your life, Hufty said, should make people thirsty for the living water. How do you share your faith with friends?, Hufty asked. Be authentic; be aware, and be alert, he replied.
Brandon Barnard, teaching pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas (USA), and former youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church, Kaiserslautern, Germany, was the evening speaker for the week. In his opening message on Saturday night, Barnard challenged the teens, asking “How does your Bible time compare with your social media times?” Words matter, he said. Nobody has more powerful words than God. Often we are so concerned with what is going on around us, that we do not take the time to listen to God. With a word, God spoke the world into being; with a word, He calmed the storm; with a word, He healed the leper; with a word, He cast out demons; with a word, He fed 5000 people.
Barnard then focused on two encounters people had with Jesus. In Mark 10:17-22, the rich, young ruler met Jesus and yet he went away sad. In Luke 18:35-43, the blind man, healed by Jesus, went away praising God. “Jesus wants to speak to us this week,” Barnard said. “This week I pray you will have another encounter with Jesus.”
In his Sunday evening message, Barnard reminded the group that they never graduate from the Gospel. The more you understand of the Gospel, he said, the more the fire is alight in you.
That theme continued in Barnard’s message on Monday evening. Healthy relationships grow, he said. They get stronger and stronger over time. He challenged the group — Do you love Jesus more than you did six months ago? How do you grow in Christ?, Barnard asked. One way is to spend time with Christ in the Word.
In Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s messages, Barnard said that our goal in life should be to follow Jesus with all that we are. It is important to know what the goal is because it determines how you train for it. We need to be in training for godliness. When an athlete trains, he or she must eat right, exercise, and rest. We, too, must eat right — having an appetite for the Scripture and hiding God’s Word in our hearts. We must exercise our faith — not just learning what the Bible says but living it out in our daily lives. And we must rest — fasting from something that we value, putting it aside to spend time with Christ.