Dave Hayes, is the pastor of church@nine, one of the congregations of Albury Presbyterian Churches. He also runs the network of churches youth group, and serves as a Presbytery Youth Representative (PY Rep).
“I became a Christian when I was 13, but I had the privilege of growing up in a Christian family. I remember really key moments where I’ve grown or understood something of the Gospel throughout my life. The first major one of those would be around age 13 when I started to read the Bible for myself and realised what I cared about wasn’t the same things that God cared about”, Dave said.
Having come to Christ as a teenager himself, Dave understands the importance of reaching teenagers with the Gospel and helping them on their path towards Jesus.
Having grown up in the Presbyterian church, Dave had always been aware of Presbyterian Youth (PY) Camps, and knows many people that have attended their camps. As his own youth group in Albury was growing, Dave saw there was a possibility to be able to start his own combined youth camp to complement the other camps they attended during the year, such as KYCK.
“A couple of other people in my church really wanted to work out how to facilitate Gospel partnerships across our region with youth groups. Then at the same time, a bunch of youth groups in our region were also growing”, Dave said.
The Need for Camp + Building a Camp
Dave said all of these things combined, encouraged him to begin to think about putting together a camp and work out how to foster relationships across the region among teenagers.
“Teenagers are at a point where they’re making big decisions about their whole lives and they need the Gospel in order to do that. Churches, parents and youth groups need to be well-resourced in order to be able to teach the Bible and proclaim the gospel to youth”, Dave shared.
The camp is currently in the early stages and is looking to run in September of 2023. Dave said that the team at PY, particularly David Phillips (PY General Manager), has been very supportive and helpful as they think through the logistics of making a youth camp happen.
“I’ve spoken to David on the phone a few times. He has a lot of different ideas and thoughts and resources. We’re keen to use the strengths of PY to help us with some communication channels.” Dave says.
The partnership of PYNSW and PY Southern Rivers Youth Camp
Dave and the team have a vision, “To gather teenagers from 10 different churches, to begin a movement of gospel community in our region,” with their purpose being to, “Encourage and Equip the teenagers of the Southern Rivers to live for Jesus, speak about Jesus and grow in Christ through gospel community.”
Dave asks for prayer for the teenagers in Southern NSW. He shares, “Many leave their local area for university after finishing school. However, there is an increasing number of kids staying in the regions for trades or other work. This leads to a really interesting opportunity where youth groups are growing currently, but in about six or seven years, there’ll be a whole heap of young adults spread widely across churches in the region.”
Dave shares, “Lord willing, this camp will mean that they have numerous good Gospel relationships across the region, regardless of where work ends up taking them.”
This Christmas, will you prayerfully consider partnering with PYNSW in this critical Gospel work?