Picture this: teens walking through lush green fields, basking in the warm summer sun, camping out in sleeping bags in host homes, packing into 15-passenger vans, eating endless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, clamoring through the challenging obstacle course and swimming in the local creek during free times. This is Project Timothy. But the sweetest aspect of this week-long leadership training camp is found when you walk inside the church sanctuary where the meetings are held. A whole new dimension to the Project Timothy experience unfolds before your eyes: the lights are dim, arms are raised, people are dancing, and voices in unison are singing along to worship. But here, worship time is not just about singing along and taking part in the musical portion. It’s also about authentic ministry opportunities. Prophetic words are spoken from peer to peer, deliverances, healings, and supernatural interventions are taking place within the mass of teens gathered in the church sanctuary. The Spirit of God is here and encountering the teens in new, unbelievably miraculous ways. God’s love and grace are thick and tangible, pouring out over those gathered here from around the region for one purpose: to be leaders for Jesus.
During the week of Project Timothy, we, as students, are taught the fundamentals of being a leader such as servitude, boldness, authenticity and perseverance. To fully solidify what we learn, we put it into practice. We are expected to give teachings, lead and participate in small groups, plan community outreaches, aid in ministry time, and help with the logistical aspects of the week. Not only are we equipped in the physical aspects of being a leader, but also in the mental and spiritual sense. At Project Timothy, we are constantly being poured into, invested in, and prophesied over by incredible adult leaders all over the region. We are experiencing God’s love and mercy in ways we’ve never truly experienced before. Better yet, we’re collecting our own God stories. No longer do we have to put our faith on other people’s testimonies and experiences. Instead, we are empowered to go out into our communities, workplaces, and schools to show God’s love in a real and practical way after experiencing it firsthand.
As a veteran Project Timothy student, looking back on these past four years, the most pivotal realization was the fundamental sense of unity among the students. Being part of the pioneer year, I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was just so excited to be in the presence of inspiring, established Vineyard leaders and to form a cohesive unit with peers who expressed the same desires to lead and actively live a life dedicated to serving Jesus. Coming from a small church and extremely secular public school environment, I didn’t have a strong network of believers in my life to encourage me or help me walk out my faith on a day-to-day basis. I was hungry for community and the encouragement needed to rise up and take hold of what God had in store for me. Through Project Timothy, the friendships formed were on a level I had never experienced before. In a mere seven days, I had gotten closer to these people than I had with any my friends back at home. The simple reason was that we clicked not just on the basis of common interests or activities, but our soul’s desires to lead and share God’s love were linked in a beautifully supernatural way. Ultimately, this unity and network of encouragement made the impossible seem feasible. Our dreams to minister to our friends and communities in various capacities finally seemed attainable.
As the week of Project Timothy comes to an end, we are commissioned to step out and take part in the tides of revival in our communities. We are beautifully and supernaturally convicted to break down the negative stigma that is linked with the ideas of Christianity and the church. Even more so, we strive to identify and break down the walls that promote seclusion and prevent outsiders from being a part of the church. Instead, we choose to invest in our surrounding and global communities. Ultimately, we desire to do as Jesus did: heal the sick, fix the broken, and love the unloved. We will no longer settle for waiting around for revival—we’re ready to bring it and willing to put ourselves out there to be God’s hands and feet.
Emma Reichart is a four time participant at Project Timothy, and has returned this year as a ministering intern. Project Timothy is a leadership bootcamp for the teens of the East Region of the Vineyard. It welcomes 14-17 yr olds as students, and young adults as ministering interns. This year (2012) 100 teens and young adults are in the middle of this bootcamp at the time this article is being published. Great things are happening around our nation, and Redpoint aims to capture, in real time, testimonies from these gatherings!