Schoolies Report: Thanks for giving life to Schoolies on the Gold Coast
February 1, 2017
Schoolies (or leavers) week celebrations have become a cultural rite of passage for Australia’s graduating high-school students.
It is a time when young people transition out of an environment of clear boundaries and into the exact opposite. They are often extremely vulnerable, with no real understanding of who they are and what their purpose is but beginning to explore their perceived freedom in a Schoolies culture driven largely by alcohol, drugs and sex.
“…to be light and love to the youth at Schoolies with an unashamedly evangelical mission”
Along with other like-minded Christians, Queensland State Director, Caleb Bowles, felt God place it on his heart to be present and available to share Christ to young people in this time of uncertainty.
So, partnering with Schoolies for Jesus, our team hit the hub of Schoolies on the Gold Coast, one of the largest gatherings in Australia. Their goal was to be light and love to the youth at Schoolies with an unashamedly evangelical mission – offering them an encounter with the living God.
As Caleb puts it, “Romans 2:4 says that it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance, so this is the approach we took. We had signs that said things like ‘free healing’ or ‘Jesus loves you’ and these would attract young people.
“We would then engage with them and offer to pray for them. Through this, many young people experienced the love of God causing them to open their hearts to hear the message of the Gospel. We became a consistent and known presence at Schoolies and were able to develop relationships with some young people, continuing conversations over the course of the week.”
“The response we had was sometimes challenging as the name of Jesus can cause people to respond negatively. But even some of those who started out mocking us encountered God and were asking to know more by the end of the week. We saw many truly miraculous God moments.”
Over the course of the week at least 500 young people made genuine commitments to follow Jesus, with 80 of these in ongoing discipleship relationships with the Schoolies for Jesus team.
Caleb hopes to be part of a consistent Christian presence at Schoolies each year along with other places where young people gather.
“There is a longing in our team to see sustainable change and consistent discipleship and I believe that as we continue to be obedient to what God has placed on our heart we will see more young people surrender their life and choose to follow Jesus.” Caleb explains.
Please join us in praying for the young people who made commitments at Schoolies.