Youth Quake pulls students in with internal talent

Posted: February 24, 2010

By Amy Robertson

Front banner, left to right: Eric Ortlund, David Guretzki, and Don Taylor lead seminars at YQ '10.

Kevin Fawcett leads a youth workers' seminar at YQ '10.
Photo by Viktor Karklins.
Briercrest College and Seminary showcased its own at Youth Quake 2010 this weekend.

Typically, the Youth Quake team brings in external speakers to lead its sessions and workshops. But this year, three faculty members, a student, and YQ’s spiritual director, Kevin Fawcett, led seminars.

Don Taylor opened the weekend Friday afternoon with a session called “Where is God in All of This?” for early comers. He said it was important to him and YQ organizers that retreaters understand that though YQ is a party, it’s also a time to get closer to God.

Saturday morning, Fawcett led a breakfast youth workers’ session called “Make it Count Without Losing Your Lunch.” He challenged listeners to approach youth ministry in a way that would increase their faith and keep them from burning out.

At lunchtime, Dr. David Guretzki led a packed youth workers’ session called “Real VS. Cheap Forgiveness.” He challenged listeners to consider the Bible’s definition of forgiveness rather than subscribing to the “forgiveness makes me feel good mentality” a la Oprah Winfrey.

Saturday afternoon, an impassioned Dr. Eric Ortlund led a session on the meaning and implications of the Gospel in Reimer Hall.

Anthony Henderson leads a student workshop.
Anthony Henderson, the college’s student body president, delivered an equally impassioned message in the seminary about making faith count in the 21st century.

Dr. Scott Finch, one of Briercrest’s music professors, had a role as a judge in YQ’s Got Talent, the annual YQ talent show. He and Resonant, our touring a capella choir, also led a choral workshop.

Rachel Runnalls, Briercrest College and Seminary’s director of core events (who is responsible for YQ), was concerned that big names like Matt Maher and Brian Pengelly would draw retreaters away from Ortlund’s and Henderson’s presentations—but both rooms were full to capacity. In Henderson’s session, students even sat on the floor, lining the walls.

“We wanted to showcase the calibre of the faculty and leaders here at Briercrest,” Fawcett, who is part of Youth Quake’s core team, said. “We're passionate about education, and it makes sense to give people a taste of the solid and engaging teaching that our students enjoy every day in the classroom.”

Scott Finch.

Runnalls, who is in charge of the event, agrees. “We value using our internal people because showcasing who we are as a school is an important part of Youth Quake,” wrote Runnalls in an email. “The high school students who come to Youth Quake are exactly the kids we would want to have register with us in the fall. We want to help them make connections with faculty members and get them thinking, ‘Wow, how cool would it be sit in this person’s class every week?’ A weekend at Youth Quake changes lives—a year or two years or four years at Briercrest changes lives even more powerfully and profoundly.”

Evidently, Runnalls’ strategy is working. This weekend alone, the Admissions office pulled in 62 college applications.