The focus of this year’s Emerge is to inspire City Harvest youths to be passionate about God and their dreams.
The year 2017 has filled the young people of City Harvest Church with anticipation, and credit must go to Emerge.
Emerge is the youth movement started by CHC in 2003 for youths aged 25 and under. Now in its 14th year, Emerge remains a platform for youths in the church to realize and use their God-given talents to serve Him.
Right from the beginning of the year, the Emerge team set the tone with the theme of “Passion”: passion for the Lord, passion for His house and passion for His people.
“If you have passion, you have power,” said Wu Yuzhuang, the pastor who oversees Emerge, at the first Emerge service of the year.
Besides being passionate about God, the Emerge team—the pastoral group that plans and executes Emerge events—wants the youths to be passionate about pursing their dreams as well.
“For this year’s Emerge Conference, the focus is on passion for God,” explains Lee Yilun, CHC’s youth pastor. “Everything stems from our personal devotion to the Lord: loving people, reaching out to the lost and building the church.
“I see ‘passion’ being youths pursuing God’s call to be His disciples,” she adds. “The theme branched out of our desire to see youths being mentored and discipled by the ministry leaders. We want to see them develop their gifts and talents—be it in media, sound, worship leading, drama, photography—and to have an impartation to build the church.”
This year’s Emerge is distinctly different from the past years. Wayne Choong, a youth pastoral supervisor, said, “This year, our focus is on having a heart for the Lord, with a very key verse about David being ‘a man after God’s own heart’. This differentiates this year’s theme and direction from the previous years.”
“The focus has changed; we have started something new,” said CHC pastor, Edmund Tay. “This Emerge weekend, we will be ending the whole conference with a worship session on Sunday, 4pm. The youths can just worship God and come into His presence.
“At the end of the day, passion is about Him, passion is about coming ‘naked’, plain and simple, worshipping Him just as you are,” he explains.
To achieve such passion in the youth, Emerge 2017 has been filled with carefully planned workshops, events and camps.
A PASSIONATE PURSUIT
One of the new things this year is Passion Pursuit, a series of workshops conducted by different ministries.
“Passion Pursuit is all about empowering the youths to chase their dreams, to fulfill their calling and to discover their passion,” says Leila Tan, a youth pastoral supervisor.
Youths could sign up for one or more of the 18 workshops, including dance, graphic design, worship leading, song writing and more. Leaders of the respective ministry taught the workshops personally.
In an introductory video for the youth on Passion Pursuit, co-founder of CHC, Sun Ho said, “I’m as excited as you, or if not, more excited, because I know these key leaders. Not only do they have skills, but they have spiritual depth. They have anointing and the DNA of the house. So I believe that it’s not just going to be a workshop that you’re going to, but you’re really going to a very spiritual encounter with God.”
“We hope the youths would not just achieve a skill but also catch the spirit of the mentors working with them,” says Choong. “Although Passion Pursuit is a short stint, we want to believe that it will be the beginning of long-term discipleship.”
Through Passion Pursuit, the youths had the opportunity to learn a skill in one or more areas of interest. Many took the opporunity to try out something completely new to them.
“This is for those who have no experience but want to do something for the Kingdom of God,” Tay explains. “We want to raise them to a level such that whenever we have Emerge services, we will see young people serving. Emerge services would be a platform for them to serve, to display and improve their talents. It would also be a platform for the ministry heads to identify, and forge relationships with new talents among the youths.”
TO CHALLENGE & INSPIRE
Since its inception, Emerge competitions and youth camps have been the main highlight of the youth movement. This year, Emerge youths participated in competitions like Emerge Sports, Preaching Challenge, and Emerge’s Got Talent. Those who were looking for a more relaxing experience joined the Art Jam and expressed their take on “Passion” through painting.
“This year, we cut down on the number of competitions but continued with main events like Emerge’s Got Talent and Preaching Challenge,” says Tay. “Preaching is very important as we want to raise up a new generation of preachers. We want young people that are full of fire, spirit and the Holy Ghost.”
The Emerge camps, organized at pastoral zone level, brought the youths deeper with God and higher in their relationship with their peers. The young people had a chance to spend three days together, overcoming
challenges and soaking in the presence of God. The camp games challenged them individually and bonded them corporately, while the devotion sessions taught them to seek the Holy Spirit. Campers left the camps feeling charged up physically and spiritually.
Emerge, however, is more than just fun and action. The Emerge team organized two Emerge meetings to bring the young people into the presence of God corporately. The first meeting, held on Feb 24, introduced the theme of “Passion” to the youth while the second meeting, held on May 27, saw them applying soul-winning tools and bringing friends into God’s house.
To welcome these new friends, the Emerge team also organized a carnival after the second meeting. Dubbed Masakbella, the carnival featured live performances, photo-booths and various food stalls selling hipster food like tofu fries and Korean bingsu.
WHAT THE YOUTHS THINK
This year’s Emerge line-up has blessed many youths.
After attending the TV Ministry workshop, Tricia Yiow, an 18-year-old student says that her favorite part of Emerge was the Passion Pursuit workshops. “It gave many of us opportunities to learn about things we may be interested in but have no way to fulfill this interest,” she says.
Zan Foo, 21, a student, says, “Throughout the various sessions in WAVE Camp (organized by three zones: AZ, JJ and IC), God reminded me that our leaders have paid the price to bring Jesus to their generation, but only we, the next generation, can bring Jesus to our generation. I’m praying that I will keep responding to His call unreservedly [and say]: ‘Lord, here I am! Send me!’ even when it means I have to pay a certain price.”
Jonathan Tay experienced God through Camp Encounter. “The greatest impact on me is definitely the longing, yearning, hunger and thirst that I feel—my heart desires more of God,” says the 21-year-old student. “It translates to a life that is more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, a life that revolves around seeking after Him daily in [my] secret place.”