Scotland’s largest annual Christian youth conference is fully booked for the third successive year – months before the event is due to take place.
The 2016 Free Church Youth Conference runs from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 March at Lendrick Muir in Perthshire, with guest speaker Rosskeen’s Rev Calum MacMillan taking the theme of ‘James: Hearers and doers’.
In spite of the organising committee increasing capacity from previous years, the 150 residential spaces at the conference have already been snapped up with a waiting list in operation. There are still places available for daytrippers.
Carina Maciver, who is vice-convener for FCYC 2016, said: “We haven’t even said goodbye to 2015 and the 2016 Free Church Youth Conference is already fully booked!
“As an organising committee we couldn’t be more thankful for how God has blessed the preparations for next year's conference especially as we have expanded our capacity at the SU’s centre Lendrick Muir by taking over the whole house.
“It’s very exciting and a real encouragement to see young Christians so hungry to spend time together, looking to be challenged in their faith from the book of James.
“At a time when it seems Christianity is being squeezed out of society God remains faithful, always!”
Seminars at the conference include ‘what does it mean to be a Free Churcher?’ led by Rev Derek Lamont from St Columba’s Free Church in Edinburgh, and ‘taking Jesus everywhere’ by Ishbel Maclennan from the BBC.
Other topics being addressed are ‘technology and the Christian’, ‘how to meditate on the Word’, ‘what’s God’s will for me?’ and ‘the Bible and homosexuality’.
Instead of the usual list of seminars to choose from on a Sunday, the organisers are hoping to have one big seminar for the boys and one big seminar for the girls on ‘being a Godly man/woman’.
Committee member David Mackay said: “It's amazing to think that there are so many young people in the church in Scotland who are really excited about spending a weekend together in God's word, benefiting from teaching and fellowship together.
“It is a testimony to past conferences that it is so popular, and we have definitely seen God at work throughout the weekend each year.
“As we finish planning the 2016 event we aim to commit it all to God and ask for His hand to be at work; encouraging, challenging and equipping the young people of the Free Church for His service.”
Conference convener Stewart Johnson added: “We are so happy by the interest shown for the 2016 conference. It really shows that Christ is moving throughout the youth.
“We are excited to offer diverse and varied seminars on the Saturday that will focus on equipping the attendees in practical ways.
“We cannot wait to welcome Calum Honda to teach us, and are eagerly anticipating the main talks on the book of James."
The youth conference is an annual event where young Christians gather for worship, food and fellowship.
Open to 16 to 30-year-olds, it usually takes place at a residential centre over three-days, and of course day visitors are welcome too.
The continued increase in numbers at the youth conference marks an encouraging period for the Free Church.
Attendances at Sunday services have seen modest growth over the past seven years - with a notable increase in the number of under 30s attending.