Posted by: Chris Hoskins | September 2, 2009

Church of Scotland National Youth Assembly

This weekend, the Church of Scotland holds its National Youth Assembly (NYA), held this year at Stirling University.
NYA has been an important part of my life since I first went in 2000. It was at NYA2000 that I gave my life to Christ and embarked on the incredible journey I’ve been on for the last 9 years. This will be my 7th NYA since 2000, I’ve attended under various guises: delegate/ staff/ organiser.

So what is NYA? It’s a youth event run by the Church of Scotland for 16 – 25 year olds. Over the course of the weekend we debate issues facing the Church, attend seminars designed to help us with our faith journey, have ceilidhs, eat together, generally just having fellowship with other Christians at the same stage of life as us.

What is it about NYA thats made it so important to me? As well as the life changing event of giving my life to Christ in 2000, each and every year I’ve attended has changed me for the better. When I first attended, I was 16, severely lacking in self – confidence and entirely unsure of who I was and where I was going in life. It didn’t change instantly, but as the years passed I grew in confidence and was much more assured of who I was. Was it NYA that caused this change in me? To put it simply, yes. The part of the event that changed me the most has always been the people I meet there. Some of my closest friends are people I”ve met through NYA. Indeed, the 2 most inspirational people in my faith and professional journey I met at NYA2000: Paul Beautyman and Steve Mallon. Amongst the many people who have inspired, mentored and encouraged me, their ‘investment’ in me has had the greatest affect on me (not to belittle the many other great people who have taken me under their wing!). Over the years I’ve met hundreds of young Christians at NYA, I can only hope I’ve had half the impact on their lives as they’ve had on mine.

Many of the debates and seminars over the years have encouraged me to explore my faith in relation to real life, how does what I read in the Bible connect with life? The many, many conversations, debates and people I’ve experienced over the years have enabled me to have what I think is the greatest asset in my approach to faith: an open mind. I don’t always agree with what people say or how they approach faith, but instead of being abrasive, I love having the opportunity to be able to chat to people and hear their story and how they got to have the approach they have.

I believe know that I have matured so much in the last 9 years. My involvement in NYA, and everything that has come out of that (General Assembly Youth Reps, World Youth Day, Impact, many friendships and much more) has grown me so much more than anything else I could have been involved in. I can’t think of anything else I could have been involved in that would have allowed me to be pushed out of my comfort zone so much, to learn so much, to grow so much. I’m eternally gratefully for NYA and for everything it has led to in my life.

I can’t wait for this weekend, although I’m a little sad that it will be the last NYA I can ever attend as a delegate. After this year I’ll be too old! I hope I’ve matured enough to move on from this chapter of my life in a positive way. One of my characteristics is that I’m incredibly nostalgic. I love revisiting memories and photos, thinking back to the awesome things and people I’ve experienced. Without doubt, my days as an NYA delegate will be up at the top of the list of happy memories.

If you’re there this year, I look forward to seeing you. If you’re not and have been before, we’ll miss you, if you’ve never been, I’m sad for you!

Keep an eye out over the weekend on my blog, the NYA Blog and on twitter (#nya2009) to hear about whats going on this year.

Peace Out

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Responses

  1. Chris – I hope you have a blessed weekend. NYA is a truly wonderful event. Can I just say that for me – what makes the event is the young people like you that attend.

    As a staff member/volunteer I have been blown away by the wonderful delegates like yourself -you have been an important part of my faith story. It was at a NYA that I finally allowed God to speak and to lead me to this moment – I am on the brink of ministry and I am not sure I would be here if it were not for NYA.

    I will miss not being there but I can smile because I know that God will do his stuff this weekend and lives will be changed.


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