BRISBANE’S Emmanuel Community has launched a new youth initiative with the hope to reinvigorate young people in the wider Catholic Church in Australia.
The initiative, Ignite Youth, combines existing youth ministries, like Fuel, high school summer camp Zero Gravity, and the all-ages music conference The Beat, under one banner.
The various events that would run under Ignite Youth include Ignite Live, Ignite School of Music, Ignite Summer Camp, Ignite Connect, Ignite High, Ignite Young Adults, and Ignite Conference.
The ministry would thrive off of the success of Ignite, which since 2001 has grown from an attendance rate of 110, now peaking to 1000 from this year’s conference.
Emmanuel community moderator Shayne Bennett announced the new changes at an exclusive lunch for youth ministers, clergy, pastoral carers, and media at Ignite Conference.
He said the growth of the conference, which is the largest event for youth in Australia, had a great impact on Emmanuel Community.
“I find young people in Brisbane have a fire, an ignition if you like, and this is what Brisbane can offer to the Church in Australia,” Mr Bennett said.
“As good as events like this are, we’re conscious that young people go back into ordinary life and the distance between events and the attempt to live life on a day by day basis, it’s very challenging.
“When we talk to them, when we listen to them, we know that it’s difficult to live a committed Christian life in our culture in Australia.
“We have felt a conviction that we had to do more, to ramp up this initiative, that it’s not good enough to let young people go by the wayside because somehow the Church isn’t touching them.
“Or, to see young people going off to some other Churches because they can’t find in our own church a dynamism and faith that excites them and challenges them and causes them to want to commit their lives to.”
Mr Bennett said the community was committed to partnering with other ministries “who are making their responses as well”.
“We’re conscious we’re not the only answer in the Church today, but we believe we have to do as much as we can, as much as God has given us the grace to do,” he said.
“We know we can’t achieve this without others working with us.”
While Ignite Youth would primarily run in Brisbane, there was already interest from one Sydney youth minister to bring Ignite Youth to their dioceses.
For more information about Ignite Youth, visit www.igniteyouth.com.