Momentum: /məˈmɛntəm/ noun: The quantity of motion of a moving body, (or a 5 day Christian festival put on for students, 20s and 30s, depending on which definition you use).
The aim of the festival, run by Soul Survivor, is to encourage community, whether as a large group or as individual churches, all coming together around one cause; to worship God.
I arrived at 9.30am (we weren’t supposed to be on site until 12.00, but I snuck on anyway) on a relatively sunny Friday morning in August, and waited in anticipation for the other ChristChurch London folk to show up so I could pitch my limited edition Union Jack tent (which proved to be incredibly useful guiding people to where we were set up). As people poured in, it only made me more excited to find out what God had got in store for the next few days.
Safe to say He did not disappoint. Whether it was hanging out around a bonfire with marshmallows while listening to Rend Collective do some campfire worship; learning some new Ceroc dance moves (a form of modern jive – I’m a terrible dancer but it was enjoyable nonetheless); or relaxing around the tents, having a BBQ; I felt inspired about the power of building community. Momentum provided the perfect situation for people to hang out, meet others from church we hadn’t met before, and develop friendships that were already built.
A community is often defined as a group of people living in the same space, or having a particular characteristic in common. Momentum only lasted 5 days, but even that short time gave me insights on how to start to build community, which will help enormously as I begin to lead the Connect: Students, East group this term. Communities should be built around a common goal – in the case of Momentum the goal was to learn more about who God is (while camping in the rain and having to put up with horrible showers!). Communities should also be inclusive, always expanding to let new people enter in and share the experience. But the most important thing is that communities should be able to have fun, which creates memories and makes the community stronger as a whole, creating deeper friendships.
Not only did Momentum teach me about the power of community, but it also equipped me for when I arrive back in London to start the second year of University. Whether it was in seminars on going through spiritual dryness or the ethics of life and death, or in main meetings where we were taught on forgiveness and how to live an empowered life, God gave me invaluable pointers and things to think about on topics which are widely debated in the church and between students. I’m not claiming that I learnt all the answers I’ll ever need, but I feel more equipped to help others think about these issues than I did before I attended Momentum.
In short, Momentum was a great place to build community and receive quality teaching. I would encourage everyone to go next year if you can. It is totally worth it even though it does involve camping in a muddy field for five days! It really encouraged me, and I’m sure it will encourage you also.
Image: Campfire by Doug Beckers, used under CC