Beth Spragg, a high school music teacher from Albury, New South Wales, has played a pivotal role in organising the Southern Rivers Big Day Out—an inspiring youth event that brings together teenagers from various churches in the regional area.
Beth’s journey traces back to her parents’ faithful discipleship, laying the foundation for her strong faith.
“I’m so thankful to God for my parents,” Beth says. “Just their faithful discipleship, and taking parenting seriously as Christians—showing me who Jesus was in that personal relationship.”
Beth moved around a lot growing up. Through her own personal experience as a teenager, and now as a high school teacher, she realised the need for support for youth ministry in regional, rural and remote communities.
“Youth need personal connections with those of a similar background to them so that they can feel part of a community.,” Beth explains.
When Beth moved to Albury, she started discussions with others who had been blessed and encouraged by regional youth events when they were younger.
“We were just eager and keen to start something regionally in the area that would foster and create gospel connections with youth,” Beth says, “Trying to build that gospel community in order for youth to grow, learn, serve and share the gospel with others.”
Initially, a youth committee formed in the Presbytery. They began praying together over the idea of something that would bring youth in the region together. That idea turned into the Southern Rivers Big Day Out.
The Southern Rivers Big Day Out
“The initial plan was a weekend camp but due to the busyness and timing it became one day, the Big Day Out. Even this was hard to organise with harvest, cropping season and other seasonal events.” Beth explains.
The first Southern Rivers Big Day Out took place in Wagga Wagga on September 16, 2023, with participants from six churches, uniting more than 24 youth and 10 leaders. The day featured singing, prayer, Bible studies, and team-building activities.
“We sat under God’s Word,” Beth says, “We looked at Matthew 6, thinking through ‘What was I made for?’. This involved a Bible talk and a study in small groups. Also, a major focus of the day was connecting youth within the region through activities, chatting over lunch, and a team photo challenge.”
One of the highlights was the positive response from young people who felt a deep sense of connection. Beth says that some of the teenagers didn’t want to leave at the end of the day.
“Some of the youth were like, ‘This was actually the most fun. I didn’t feel awkward at any moment.'”
Check out this Instagram Reel for a recap of the day.
Dave Phillips, General Manager of PYNSW says, “It was a privilege for PYNSW to help make the Big Day out happen with some admin support. We’re excited to see this kind of gathering among churches start to happen more and more in regional NSW.”
Beth acknowledges the challenges in organising events like Big Day Out, but she remains hopeful about the potential for replication in other regions.
“I think it could be done; it takes a lot of organisation and preparation,” Beth notes. “The key lies in having committed individuals who are willing to serve in organising, fostering relationships, and promoting events.”
As the event continues to make a positive impact, Beth asks for prayer for more people to get involved in youth ministry, wisdom for the committee in future endeavours, and an overarching prayer for revival and the spread of the gospel in the Southern Rivers region.