A church youth group in France wanted to attend TeenStreet Europe 2013 in Offenburg, Germany, from 27 July – 3 August, but didn’t think it was financially possible. God, however, not only provided the financial support but unified the church in the process.
Last September, the youth group leadership discussed the possibility of taking the youth group to TeenStreet Europe for the first time. “We thought it would be a fantastic chance for the youth to meet other Christians in a new context and to experience teaching and worship relevant to them,” said OMer Sophie, an involved member of the church. “More importantly, we hoped the conference would encourage them to deepen their relationship with Jesus.”
However, the leaders knew there would be hurdles they’d have to get over first, including getting the church and the youth excited about TeenStreet and paying for the trip.
The church had six teenagers eligible to attend TeenStreet as participants. “At 225 euros a head, plus transport, it didn’t seem achievable for most families in our church,” said Sophie. “However, the youth leadership team truly believed this was an opportunity not to be missed, so we decided to try to raise the money.”
With the goal of raising 1,500 euros to pay the teens’ participation fee, they planned their strategy. “We decided on three types of fundraisers: selling cake after church, participating in a local rummage sale selling items donated by church members and hosting a fun evening at church with a presentation about TeenStreet that included games, dancing and a light meal where people could give donations if they wished,” Sophie said. “We hoped to raise 300 euros from the cake sales, 300 euros from the rummage sale and 450 euros from the evening fundraiser.” The church also allocated 650 euros from the offertory to support the project.
“By the start of June, God had greatly blessed our efforts!” reported Sophie. In total, over 250 euros more than expected was raised. Not only did God exceed their financial expectations, but four additional teenagers signed up for TeenStreet. They held a final rummage sale to raise the rest needed for these teens.
“In our fundraising endeavours, God has shown Himself to be so faithful,” shared Sophie before the TeenStreet event. “This is a great testimony for the youth to have as they go. We have seen them come together and become increasingly excited about TeenStreet (and youth group!) as they have been active in raising the money.
“We have also been blessed to see how much the church contributed. Though we are a not a large or particularly wealthy church, everyone came together in support of the project, and the majority of our funds came from within the church. They too see what a great opportunity this is for the young people in our congregation, and that has been a huge encouragement for us. It has grown from a project for the youth group and leaders to a project for our entire church!”
Sophie challenges other youth groups to not allow finances be a hindrance when considering participating in TeenStreet. “In fundraising, we’ve seen God work in providing for our needs, and He has also worked in the hearts of the youth and of our church before the conference has even taken place. We hope to see you at TeenStreet 2014!”
For more information about TeenStreet Europe, visit www.teenstreet.de.