A typical day at Upward Challenge
Curious about the schedule? This is what happens on a typical day...
Er.... You wake up, get dressed, and have breakfast. Simple!
We start the day's program with personal time and space for meeting with God. After a short intro and prayer, it's over to you to find a quiet place and use the Student Handbook as a guide for prayer, reflection and reading the Bible. Everybody is different, so the experiences will be unique. But we think it's vital for Christians to learn to spend time alone with God and learn to listen to what he has to say.
Worship and Teaching
Our musicians help us draw near to God with our praises, mostly with modern music because God is up to date and not locked in the past (though He inspired some good stuff then, too!). And then we plug our brains into learning stuff about the Holy Spirit and Jesus, and how the Spirit can work in people's lives today. We think it's really important to have a good Bible-based foundation for our faith.
This is where the Student Leaders play a vital role. It's up to them to help their small group have a useful time together discussing stuff that came up in the teaching; tackling any questions that people have about Jesus, the Spirit and the Father; and praying together as a small group. Sometimes everything seems really straightforward. At other times there's all sorts of things to talk about. Every day - and every group - is different.
Lunch and cleanup
Food. We stop and eat it, and help get cleaned away afterwards.
This is for real - sixty minutes of doing nothing (or even having a quick nap). Upward Challenge can be physically tiring, and we've found that having a siesta can really help with the stamina to be alert and engaged right through the day. (And anyway, the leaders need a break even if nobody else does!)
This one varies from day to day. One day we'll have an outdoor team game (probably Sock Wars) even if it's tipping down with rain! We'll also have a service project one afternoon, doing something practical to help others, and other days will likely include a walk or a trip. For the final afternoon we will seek specific guidance from the Holy Spirit, trying to make sure that we keep in step with His plans.
Tea time & free time
How's about that, eh? A cuppa tea, and the chance to chill out, play games, chat, read, get away from the crowd, make music, or whatever floats your boat.
Pretty much the same as for lunch time. Food again.
Worship & Ministry
For the evening session we get back together for worship and the leadership team have the awesome task of helping us all follow the Holy Spirit's guidance in the work He wants to do in our midst. We might have a bit more teaching, or spend the whole evening in worship, or get caught up in prayer ministry for one another. The important thing is that together we encounter the living God and let Him have the freedom to work among us.
Grab a cup of cocoa, unwind for a while, quieten down, and then...
Yes, we really do expect people to go to sleep. It makes life much easier the next day!
The bonus bits
We have a prayer shed available throughout the camp, and encourage everybody to reserve at least one hour-long slot for prayer in the shed. It can be an amazing personal time with God!
There's extra stuff for the Student Leaders to do. They also have to find time for their mentoring appointments, and have a Discernment Meeting right before supper for getting guidance about the evening Worship & Ministry session.