Vibrant youth movement trains leaders

Special to Christian Week
July 4, 2008
Kevin Quast


MONCTON, NB - Under the coordination of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada, New Brunswick youth are being mobilized to discover their faith and reach out to others.

Epicentre
NB, a province-wide, multi-stage youth movement infusing youth ministry in New Brunswick with new life, launched in February. In May and June it featured events that attracted thousands of youth in Moncton and St. John and culminates in August with a team of more than 30 maritime youth and youth leaders travelling on a mission trip to Trinidad and Tobago.

"Youth and young adults in cities all across Canada are facing tremendous pressures and social issues. We want to help them define their identities, value and purpose," says project manager Mark Miller.

The program was originally launched in Barrie, Ontario in 2004, and since that time, has run successfully in Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John's Newfoundland, Victoria BC and London, Ontario. It takes place over a multi-month period during which youth are mentored, trained and released to impact their peers and communities, says Miller.

Related worship gatherings attracted more than 1,100 students in both Moncton and St. John.

Teams conduct various prayer and teaching times with groups and individuals throughout the region. In May two weekend-long retreats were held, each drawing more than 125 youth. The final event before the participants are released for ministry is called "ignition." It was held June 22 at the Moncton Coliseum and will feature two well-known Christian bands-Barlow Girl and Kutless-as well as a BMX team and a message from Will Graham, grandson of Billy Graham.

"We've had a great response from many denominations," says Miller. "From Wesleyan, Baptist, Pentecostal, Anglican, Salvation Army and others, youth leaders are excited and eager to work together.

"We really rely on the local leaders because we feel that the success or failure of Epicentre really depends on how much the local leaders take ownership of it. After all, it's their city, and they are ministering week in and week out to the youth. We want to come alongside of the local church to help strengthen what is already happening in many churches.

"We do not want to come in and 'do our thing' and leave again. Really, we want to help bring churches together, around the common desire and goal of encouraging and equipping our Christian teens to reach out."

For more information, see www.epicentrecanada.com and www.epicnb.com.

BBB Festival of Hope My Hope with Billy Graham

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada

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