Finishing school is the start of many big changes in a teen’s life. There’s a new level of independence, study and work decisions to be made, as well as the choice to leave home or not. With all this going on – faith is often left behind.
In fact, one recent study found 66 per cent of teenagers who regularly attend church will stop coming for at least one year between the ages of 18 and 22*. Many never return.
For Gympie teen Tim, this could have been his story.
“I wasn’t good at reading the Bible and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to live my faith out in the real world after school,” Tim says.
“Schoolies was a stepping stone in my faith journey to where I am now. I learnt how important it was to make time for Jesus – to prioritise him and not to be ashamed of that.”
Tim says he found comfort in being able to talk about his faith openly in a safe environment.
“At SU-Schoolies, the leaders were willing to sit down and talk about those hard questions, and at such a key point in my life that was critical.”
Tim came with his friends from Gympie. The safe environment helped them all to grow deeper in their faith.
“I had some mates from Gympie in my small group. SU-Schoolies changed their lives as much as it did mine – really grounded our faith well for the next stage of our lives,” Tim says.
Tim was so impacted by SU-Schoolies he decided to come back as a leader.
“It’s loads of fun and we party like crazy! It’s not like sitting around singing kumbaya with the schoolies the whole time,” Tim says.
“Being a leader is nervewracking. You’re an influence on others, but having that responsibility really made me want to be a better influence on the boys in my group. It made me want to live more like Jesus did.”
Jonathan Chew, Director of SU-Schoolies Sunny Coast, said he found being a leader rewarding and highly recommends it to anyone who wants to develop leadership skills.
“Leading on SU-Schoolies is a great way to find out how you tick,” Jonathan says.
“You learn lots about how you communicate and work with others. It’s a great way to learn key skills that can be used in any leadership or ministry role.”
SU-Schoolies registrations are open now, but spaces are limited! If you know someone graduating in 2020 or 2021, they can register at su-schoolies.com
*Research conducted by Lifeway Research: http://lifewayresearch.com/wp-contenVuploads/2019/01/Young-Adult-Church-Dropout-Report-2017.pdf