Technically, I spent this past week at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference in Harvey Cedars, NJ. But I would say I spent this past week in a small slice of heaven. Even though I hardly got any sleep all week, it left me feeling energized and closer with both Jesus and my students. Upon arriving at HCBC, my group of teens found themselves surrounded by hundreds of teens from other churches and almost immediately began to initiate conversation and participate in activities together.
As a leader, I found myself in a slightly more exclusive group. Each morning, I attended leaders’ meetings and was surrounded by people who I felt were much more qualified for my job than I was. As the week went on, however, I became more confident and felt very close with my fellow leaders even though I had only known them for a matter of days.
I soon found myself wondering how I connected with these people so quickly. Then, I realized that it had nothing to do with how much time we spent together or how many laughs we shared, but rather, it had everything to do with Jesus. Never in my life have I experienced a better example of the body of Christ and the church outside of the building. It was a powerful thing to be surrounded by people who both loved Jesus, and were dedicated to teaching teens about Him.
At one point during the week, emotions were running high and several of my students came face to face with their struggles in a very real way. Many were asking for prayer, and help, and advice, and it was extremely overwhelming. One night, I approached a young leader from another church and just asked if we could pray together. All I knew about this leader was his name but we laid hands on each other and prayed for strength, energy, and wisdom. I am confident that this connection was Jesus at work. As young leaders, we were both seeking wisdom and guidance in an attempt to serve our students in the most effective way possible.
I believe heaven will be much like this week, consisting of fellowship with believers and constant worshiping of God. The only difference is that God will physically be there with us to audibly join in the conversation. I will never forget that night I prayed fervently alongside a brother in Christ, because serving God side by side– this is the body of Christ.