On the last day of Term 2, close to 300 youth gathered in churches and living rooms for the Onward conference livestream, and to hear how we as Christians can reach out to God in the midst of hard times and suffering. Youth groups tuned in from across New South Wales, Queensland, Canberra and Victoria, with the largest groups represented by St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Canberra, St Aidan’s Wagga Wagga and Albury Presbyterian Churches.
Despite being livestreamed due to COVID-19, the Onward team worked hard to recreate a physical conference experience by providing an interactive Q&A panel, worship in song by Whitefield band, and encouraging camaraderie within youth groups to participate in a “This or That” poll and a competition to win KYCK2022 tickets.
The theme for Onward 2021 was “God in the Shadows: Finding God When Times Are Tough” and the official program kicked off with guest speaker, Dave Miers preaching from Habakkuk 1 & 2. Dave shared that it’s appropriate to cry out to God in times of suffering and that that Habakkuk is a good example of a man who expresses trust in God, even in pain and uncertainty.
“God is good. God is God and God can be trusted. When we ask, where is God when times are tough? We know he’s still God so we wrestle, so we wait, and regardless of the uncertainty that we, or people close to us have in the midst of tough times, we keep trusting in him.” – Dave Miers
Miers explored in his second talk how we can rejoice now even while we endure hardship. But the good news is, we don’t have to endure hardship forever.
Guest speakers, Lily Strachan, Kit Barker and Greg Coles joined the program to share more practically on the topic.
Barker shared an instructional talk that answers the question of how God wants His people to express their sorrow and grief. What do we do with suffering and pain as Christians? Why would God allow us to suffer?
Strachan is no stranger to mental illness, having been diagnosed with depression in 2003 and Bipolar Disorder in 2008. She believes that Christians are not exempt from suffering and shared where hope can be found in the midst of mental illness.
Coles shared his testimony about finding joy in his experience of attraction to the same sex. He also shared how even though faithfulness to Jesus means singleness and at times deep loss, he continues to seek to find joy.
We thank God for the gift of technology, and the ways in which it has enabled his word to be preached far and wide, so that hearts can continue being impacted and transformed for God’s glory. It is our hope and prayer that youth will walk away from Onward 2021, to find God in the midst of tough times and hardship.
Onward Youth is available to stream on-demand until the 31 August 2021.
- Tickets are $29 per livestream viewer and includes:
- Full access to Onward Youth LIVE
- Digital Onward Youth Program Booklet
Access to our DEEP DIVE resource which includes 3 weeks of youth group Bible talks, discussions questions, resources, interviews, Q&A with Onward speakers and more!
For tickets or more information, visit our website: www.onwardevent.com