All posts by Trav Johnson

“I’ve learnt some real & good life skills, but it’s helped me to also realise God’s plan for me (hopefully) & helped me be more tuned into God & his word.” – Jed (18)

Well, we’re pleased to report that our first ATS Story-Teller Summit was an awesome success.

The Summit is specifically designed for those who have completed our equipping initiative “ThePath”.  We’ve just concluded ThePath for the first time with 11 people, and a blend of experience, teaching and story-telling all made for an excellent weekend.

Here’s what some of our Summit participants had to say:

“ThePath has allowed me to understand God’s story better & has taught me how to talk to friends & others about God’s story.” – Brennan (15)

“… Having not grown up in the church, the bible was a scary book to me, but as I journeyed on ThePath I have come to better understand God’s story & my place in it. I now feel more confident in guiding others because I have a better grasp on the fundamentals myself. I don’t have all the answers but that’s ok because only God does.” – Joanna (26)

ThePath has helped me put more structure & thought into writing stories & discussion questions. It’s helped me to think more strategically in terms of leading group discussions & incorporating experiences. – Sam (27)

“ThePath is groundbreaking in it’s approach & effectively coaches participants to become more effective in expanding the scope of influence of God’s story.” – Mike (43)

“ThePath is a practical, well structured & scaffolded course that takes you through the journey of equipping you to become a story-teller to help others engage in God’s love story. Anyone can do it & would gain as much out of it as they put in. It’s sensational.” – Kylie (36)

We’re opening up ThePath again in February, so if you’re keen to walk it – apply now!!

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Fantastic location, great food, and a tight-knit community all made for a beautiful journey through the story of God.  Our inaugural VERGESA event was a great success with just under 30 people in attendance – representing over 6 churches and ministry groups.

On the final night two young men stepped into God’s story with a first-time faith decision – it was a great highlight for all of us – particularly their youth pastor, Seth.

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Here’s some comments from participants:

WHAT IMPACTED ME MOST FROM VERGE WAS:

“God got down in the dirt with His hands and physically created us, rather than just speaking us into existence – so cool!” – Hannah

“Experienceing stories I had heard before in a totally new way.” – Hugh

THE ONE THING THAT GOD HAS CONSISTANTLY BEEN SAYING IS:

“Firstly that my hands aren’t as clean as I thought they were, but also that this story needs to be trusted and retold.” – Nicole

“Love me above all else, and I will show you the way.” – Aaron

“Come to me and I will give you freedom. … You don’t need to feel guilty anymore.” – Ash

THE NEXT STEP IN MY JOURNEY OF FAITH:

“Getting back into God’s story and allowing it to shape me so I can live out His story, helping His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” – Kate

“Using the story to share with my youth more confidently – hopefully doing ThePath.” – Nicole

Stay tuned for VERGESA 2015, as well as some news on partenerships throughout the state, and also in NewZealand!

 

Grief.

Denial.

Confusion.

Maybe even guilt.

The friends of his cousin had only just delivered the news, and the flood of finality and separation swept over him.

What would he do?

Rage?

Revenge?

What can possibly be done in the wake of such an atrocity?

He steps into a boat in search of solitude – and, though he is followed, and pestered, and confronted with the clamouring needs of hungry people – and though he compassionately and deliberately meets those needs – he still finds solitude.

No, he ENABLES solitude.

On a mountain.

In prayer.

Matthew 14:10-23

He crawled on his belly toward the unsuspecting King.

He couldn’t believe the scenario as he cautiously moved toward his aggressor – the silence was broken only by the waters of EnGedi at the entrance of the cave, and by the movement of the clueless visitor in the fugitive’s hideout.

After years of running – and hiding – and trickery – David was faced with a clear opportunity to do away with his oppressor.

He was poised – perfectly positioned – to attack.

1 Samuel 24.

VERGE WA has come to an end.  Six days where a community of youth and young adults from at least four church groups journeyed through God’s story together – so many stories of people encountering God in a new way!

Here’s a sample of feedback we received:

“What most impacted me was that God is creative, and we’re all part of His artwork.  He wants to know me, to be in relationship with me, to restore me.  He’s not just a distant God who we are told to worship mindlessly.  I’ve never appreciated how social, creative and real God is.”

“What impacted me from Verge was the worship.  Throughout this camp I have felt as if all fear and insecurity has just been taken away through the stories of godly people that followed Jesus.  I’m lining my life up to God’s plan for me, and it has set my heart on fire.  God has given me a new voice – a voice to speak out with no fear, no regret of God’s movement in my life.”

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(One thing God has been saying) “It is no longer good enough for me to be complacent or apathetic.  I have to start restoration of my mind so I can be a light in the world for Him.”

“God has been consistantly saying that I’m forgiven and it’s okay to doubt and have questions.  It’s all about the journey and coming to the understanding that God is enough.”

So good to hear of how God is impacting people through His story – now, we turn our attention to VERGE SA in September!

His toes crept toward the shallow water’s edge. His mind drifted back to the last time he paced the riverbank on the other side – when he was on the run. Escaping the fury of his brother. Escaping the fruit of his own deceit. Venturing into a new start – built on a foundation of trickery.

Now he returns – bringing with him the fruit of his new life back to his homeland. Ready to face the unknown outcomes of his deceit so many years before. Ready to face the unresolved nature of the relationship with his twin brother.

As the water laps his travel-weary feet, Jacob gazes across the river and contemplates the horizon and all that it holds for him. So many unknowns, yet he knows its time for him to step into the water – it’s right for him to return.

Genesis 32

2009: “Thanks to Immerse, I have God in my life for the first time.”

Nada was at her first ever Christian camp, and, after numerous occasions of being impacted by God’s story, made a decision to follow Jesus for the first time.

2010: “This camp has changed the way I think, it’s changed the way I live, it’s changed everything I believed about God for the better.”

Allan’s story of brokenness and heartache has been changed to one of hope and meaning through his own experience of the God of this story.

2012: “It’s like the Bible is in colour.”

Jed grew up in the church and was more than familiar with the content of the Bible – the Immerse story experience pieced his childhood knowledge together in a way he’d never experienced before.

2013: “We should do that baptism thing.”

- he’d heard the story, believed it for himself, and now was leading his friends to consider how they might respond to God’s call on their lives.  Ethan’s first ever experience with the story of God changed his life forever.

At a time where church attendance among Australian young people is in rapid decline, and bible engagement is at an all-time low, God is bringing transformation as people are given the opportunity to experience His story.

Over the last 6 years, Travis and Pixi Johnson have witnessed God turn the tide of young people’s experience of the Bible story through Youth Ministries Australia’s ‘Immerse project.’ Now, with a good team around them, they have taken the step to launch the new organisation: AccessTheStory.

AccessTheStory will gather the discoveries that have been made through the ‘Immerse project’, and will enable a focused approach on bible engagement and discipleship through the lens of story.