Glory and Grace: Banner Youth Conference Highlights 2022
On April 22nd, upwards of 270 young people converged on Yarnfield Park Conference Centre, Staffordshire, for the 2022 Banner Youth Conference. Gathered from all four nations of the UK, and further afield, the group was composed of high school and university students, interns, and young workers. It was a delight for Banner staff members and trustees to once again host a group of young people evidencing a clear desire to draw near to the Lord, grow in their faith, and to meet others with the same outlook and heart.
Over the course of three days, we shared meals, listened to compelling Bible teaching, bought Banner books at discount, and enjoyed a much-missed opportunity to share laughter and good conversation in a friendly environment. Setting the tone for the conference, David Campbell (North Preston Evangelical Church) gave the opening sermon on ‘The Bible: a Unique Book’. Focusing on the example of Timothy, schooled from his youth in the Holy Scriptures, David highlighted the matchless qualities of the Word of God, and the benefits of allowing it to shape us, ground us, and make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”.
From the glories of Scripture, we turned to consider the One to whom the Bible continually bears witness. In two memorable Saturday sessions, Simon Curry (Larne Baptist Church) helped us to slow down and attend to the glory of Christ as it was displayed on the Mount of Transfiguration, and then as it was revealed in an altogether different way in the Garden of Gethsemane. Issuing a gentle but firm challenge, Simon urged us not to rush past these narratives into premature application, but to linger, and meet with the Christ who is both exalted Lord, and suffering servant.
John Rawlinson, General Manager at the Banner of Truth, served us on Saturday afternoon with an account of John Flavel (c. 1630 – 1691), the Puritan pastor and author who wrote so helpfully on the providence of our good God notwithstanding, or perhaps because of, his own experience of personal loss and persecution. Following the session there was a run on copies of Flavel’s ‘Mystery of Providence’ from which the bookstall supplies did not quite recover.
A special guest at the conference was Conrad Mbewe, of Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka, Zambia, who testified how much his own life had been changed by a steady diet of Banner books while he was at seminary. With clarity and skill, Conrad traced the threads of the redemption story from the Exodus through to the New Covenant, enabling us to see how the Lord’s salvation is all of grace, and is ‘from faith and for faith’, leading not to human smugness and self-confidence, but rather to humble dependence on the One who leads His people out of the bondage of sin and into true freedom.
As the conference drew to a close, there was a tangible sense that it had been a significant time. A conversation which stood out for me was with a young man who had been drawn to the Reformed faith only very recently, having discovered it in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Newly relocated to London, from Manila, he was clearly relishing the opportunity to meet likeminded people, and peruse the resources made available by the Trust. He went home encouraged and with a copy of Banner’s edition of Calvin’s 1541 Institutes to read.
While this year’s Youth Conference may be over, the work of the Spirit in the hearts of these young people certainly is not. Please pray for them as they return to their families and churches, that they would continue to grow in Christ, and would thrive in the contexts in which the Lord has placed them, bearing fruit even in their youth.
The main sessions from the Banner of Truth Youth Conference 2022 are now available to watch here.
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