Thursday, August 22, 2013
Area churches came together to give more than 200 young people a night filled with activities and show a community that division is not the answer for churches.
The Insomnia event was held at North Augusta High School, and began at 10 p.m. and did not end until 6 a.m. the next day. Church members, leaders and community members gathered in the gym with inflatables, music and games that were set up to give the youth of the area something safe to do on the final Friday night of the summer.
Young adults from surrounding churches served as chaperones and assistants throughout the night, and said they were glad to help with such a worthy cause.
“I feel like it gives the kids an outlet to hang out with their friends in a positive environment versus somewhere they shouldn’t be,” said Christian Heritage member Brandon Baggott.
C.J. Barton is also a member of Christian Heritage, and said that he is glad that he could provide a hand for safe family fun.
“I think this is good because everybody can come together to have a good time in a safe environment,” Barton said. “It’s a good event for them to come out to before they go back to school.”
Baggott and Barton were both invited to assist with the event by David Barton, one of the organizers for Insomnia.
He said that the event was created to form a connection between the leaders and the youth in the community. “We did this with the intent of giving college leaders a chance to pour into the kids, be intentional with the gospel and they can see love and see Jesus in our leaders,” David Barton said. “We want them to come to understand what the gospel is. It got planned less than a month ago. We were really excited with the number of kids out here tonight.”
The kids said they enjoyed the event, and all of the different things it offered them over the course of eight hours.
TrueNorth member Matthew Owens, 12, said he was glad he chose to attend Insomnia. “I wanted to have fun so I came out,” Owens said. “My favorite part of the night was the floats.”
Brock Williams is also a member of TrueNorth and appreciates his church taking out the time for things like this. “I liked talking with my friends and having fun,” Williams said. “Everybody just got to come and hang out. I’m glad my church puts on events like this.”
TrueNorth student minister Adam Allen works in many areas of the church and holds a special interest in reaching students that won’t normally come in contact with Christian leaders.
“We have a focus and an outlet to students that don’t necessarily come to church or service, so we do events like this,” Allen said.
“This makes it easier for students to invite their friends to come. Last year, we had around 175 students, so we reached out to First Baptist Church of North Augusta and we plan to do a lot more of that this year. We are going to try to fuse together as one body in Christ.”
These future events are also being used for the outreach programs at the different churches in North Augusta, and Allen believes that is truly important.
“We wanted to reach that child that might not usually touch the doorstep of a church to come to this so they can experience a connection with people connected to Christ,” Allen said. “If I have a leader who knows Jesus and loves Jesus, and I have a student who may not know Jesus, I know the more they’re hanging out something great is happening. That can’t happen anywhere else.”
The common goal of all of the churches involved was to bring together young people for a night of fun, but also to show a connection between the area churches. According to David, that is a step that these churches are taking to connect the different congregations.
“We’re trying to show that it is not competition between churches,” he said. “We’re trying to show that we’re all coming together to do the Lord’s work.”
Patrick Harmon, youth pastor at First Baptist, said the community benefits greatly from things such as this event.
“We get to know kids in the area and share the love of Jesus with them, and the community knows there’s a safe place that kids can come to have a good time,” Harmon said. “Communities need things like that. Just to see joy on kids’ faces. Many of them go through tough times, and to see them genuinely have fun is truly a blessing for me. We want to show that the church as a whole is an entire network. We look forward to showing North Augusta and beyond that churches can work together for the gospel.”
Heather Wright is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. She is a North Augusta resident and earned a communications degree from USC Aiken.