around the campfire



by Trav Johnson

Clare* is a pleasant 17 year old with a quiet demeanor and a beaming smile.

I think she might have been uncertain about me at first, but she was polite to the ‘old person’ at her youth group’s camp!

When I spoke with her early into our vergeWA experience, she said she was glad to have the opportunity to connect with her church friends.  Sometimes she finds it hard at church events because she goes to a different school than most of her friends – a school where hardly anyone shares the same faith she has in God.

Her Pastor had spoken with both Clare and her Mum to convince her to come to Verge – so she did – joining her pastors, youth leaders, and youth group friends on a 4-day experience through God’s story.


As the story unfolded, so did Clare.  She seemed cautious for the first couple of days – experiencing the AccessTheStory episodes from Designed to Satisfied – but after hearing the stories of the first Christians at the end of the third day, Clare did something none of us expected.

As we sat around the campfire that night – inviting campers to tell their story – Clare broke the silence.  She shared about her loneliness at school, but one day she discovered how a Buddhist friend became a Christian through her influence.  Her friend told her that the answer she gave to one question and the kindness she showed sent her on her own journey to Jesus.

Clare had no idea until the girl asked her another question months later.


Not only was Clare blown away with how God involved her in someone else’s life, but that night she inspired her entire youth group to be willing to share their faith story – even if they feel lonely.

Last week, after a three year hiatus from running VERGE in WA, we saw a community of around 40 people journey through God’s story together.  We’re finding more and more that the emerging generation is excited to be able to  explore faith when they are invited to do so.

Check out this  facebook post from a parent to her church’s youth leaders:

Hey ya’ll …. thank you all so much for your time and your hearts and your willingness to share your faith this weekend. My 15 year old daughter, and 17 year old son (and the other children I carted home) absolutely have been raving about this weekend. Both my kids were deeply touched and challenged in their faith. They have come away from Verge with a deeper understanding but more importantly they feel deeply connected to their faith. They experienced and saw and heard things that made their faith real and palpable to them. You all opened those doors for them and your shared your stories and how Jesus transformed your lives. And you know what??? They heard you!!!

* ‘Clare’ is known by another name, and we wanted to respect her privacy

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