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On 4 March 2017, 400 young adults and youth leaders came through the doors of Central Hall, Edinburgh for the launch of Scotland’s first ever REBOOT event. Filling the venue with 400 people was testimony to God’s providence and faithfulness as, prior to the event, local Church and youth leaders said they would be pleased with 100-150 attendees (and that anything above 200 would be surprising)! Evidently, REBOOT was scratching a very present itch.
The high-energy day began with people being welcomed on a rainy morning by a highly enthusiastic team. After some short-fire answers to key apologetics questions, Amy Orr-Ewing went into greater depth on the topic of ‘Why Trust the Bible?’ She was followed by Andy Moore, who looked at arguments for God’s existence, Lara Buchanan on the cross and suffering, and Daniel Rangel on the topic of sex and relationships. Interspersed throughout the day were seminars on mental health, other religions, and ‘Apologetics in real life’, as well as an interview with Ben Thomas, a Christian medic who is same-sex attracted.
We felt God’s spirit providing a tangible sense of freedom in the room, allowing people to ask vulnerable questions. The global nature of REBOOT was reflected in the speaking team who came from as far afield as China, USA, Australia, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. An open environment for questioning was also encouraged by the interactive Q & A sessions where people could ask any question anonymously – ‘no question off limits’ was the motto – via their own phones. This allowed personal and sensitive questions to surface, which otherwise might have been difficult to ask in front of a crowd.
At the end of the event, many teens came forward for prayer to ask for greater boldness in being true Christians in their schools. Lara Buchanan describes the story of one such teenager:
One of the most significant moments at Reboot Scotland was praying for a young girl who was about 17 years of age. She came forward at the end of the day to ask for prayer for boldness. She told me that as she had been listening to the talks she felt that she had gained a deeper sense of conviction of the truth and reliability of her faith in Jesus. She asked me to please pray that she would become bold at school because she wanted to start to share the message of the gospel at school. There was such a sincerity in her face and I felt a strong sense that this young woman had the gift of evangelism. I went on to pray for a few more people, but at the end I saw her waiting to talk to me again. She said, ‘I’m sorry to bug you, but I just have to ask, what exactly is it that you guys were doing here today? What is this type of learning/speaking?…I think I need to learn to do it. Do you know how I can do that?’ There was such a strong sense of the presence of God, as we talked about digging deep into the Bible and prayer, and also about other books that she could begin to read. I felt that the conversation was really significant and was perhaps a fulfilment of the picture I had had months before of suits of armour hanging up in the hall, waiting there for young people to come and step into them at Reboot.
The feedback cards showed that thirty people ticked “Count Me In”, which means they made a first-time commitment to follow Christ, or made a significant re-commitment in their Christian walk. Here is the story of one of them coming to faith:
As we were nearing the end of our time of prayer and ministry, a teenager walked down the aisle towards me. As she approached, she said, “I don’t know how to do this?” Not knowing exactly what she meant, I asked her if there was anything specifically she wanted/needed prayer for. She said she didn’t know, so I asked if she had ever invited Jesus to take the lead in her life. After she said “No”, I asked her if she would like to. She nodded, burst into tears and asked if we could go somewhere a little more private to pray Reboot was her first experience of a Christian event and, as the final time of worship got going, she was unexpectedly overcome by emotion, which led her to come forward for prayer. I told her that sometimes this happens when God wants to get our attention. This was God, the creator of the universe, wanting her to know that he sees her and wants to know her. I asked her if she would like to ask Jesus to lead her life. She said she would, but didn’t know how/what to pray. I said I would be happy to lead her in a simple prayer, which she could echo after me. All she needed to do was mean the words from her heart. We prayed together, she asked Christ into her life and began the journey of following him from that moment.
What a privilege it was to minister to those present, as well as to help empower a younger generation of Christians with a refreshed sense of urgency, relevance and courage for the gospel.