January 13–19 was Jim Downey’s 11th Amplify camp. Creative Ministries Territorial Director and one of the event’s founders, Jim is Amplify’s most senior staff member. Don’t misunderstand—we’re not saying he’s old (he’s still pretty spry)—we’re just pointing out that he’s dedicated and knows what he’s doing.
Another ‘experienced’ staff member is Territorial Youth Secretary Captain Mat Badger. Although it’s only Mat’s fourth Amplify, together these two share the burden of ‘Camp Directors’. Not that it’s a burden for either of them—they both love it—100%.
‘This year was another great Amplify and I’m looking forward to 2021 already,’ reports Jim.
‘I think it’s a great thing for all our young people—it’s one of the only times young people from the whole territory are given the opportunity to come together. It’s unique—exploring creative arts together. And a lot of young people who’ve participated over the years are now young adults stepping into leadership in their local corps and centres.’
Mat agrees, saying, ‘I believe that every young person has gifts and talents and something unique to offer. Amplify is a safe and encouraging space for them to figure out how God’s gifted them. It’s all about having a go in a supportive environment.
‘I also love that all four nations of our territory are included. I want young people to be themselves—bringing their culture to Amplify so we can celebrate our diversity and learn from each other. A personal highlight was at the talent night when Ihaka Namana, a 16-year-old delegate from Thames, gave a demonstration using traditional Māori instruments and was given a standing ovation,’ Mat explains.
Beyond 2020 Vision
Another Amplify veteran is Vanessa Singh (Mission Resource Developer), who explains that Amplify’s vision is, to see young people empowered and equipped for ministry in their local corps and community.
After 11 years, no one seems to know Vanessa’s actual Amplify staff team title anymore—including her—but everyone knows that without Vanessa, Amplify wouldn’t get off the ground. She’s completely committed to the vision and doing what it takes to see it fulfilled—year after year after year.
‘I believe in the vision of Amplify and love seeing it come to life each year. When you come to an Amplify to serve, it’s hard work—it’s a big week. But seeing young people connect with Jesus and discover how they can use their gifts makes the long week and all the months of planning so worth it. And so, I say yes, I can absolutely do 11+ years of this.’
And while Vanessa has worried about ongoing funding in the past, a shift has occurred. ‘Making it to
the Eleventh year means there’s a legacy of fruit now to build upon,’ Vanessa explains. ‘So, the Army continues to invest in young people and our Army’s future.’
What was Unique About Amplify 2020?
‘We included a pool party this year,’ Vanessa laughs. But she makes no apologies for rolling out a formula that works year after year.
‘Leaders and young people know what to expect from Amplify. They know why they’re coming, and they understand our camp values. So this means there’s nothing holding anyone back from learning and meeting with Jesus. We don’t have to work at it as much now—the culture is set. That history means that newbies get into the rhythm of camp quickly. People arrive hungry and expectant.’
Another factor that was unique to Amplify 2020, was the decision to have Kiwi speakers.
‘We want to be good stewards and so while we know that overseas speakers are a draw card, we also know that we have so many exceptional, talented and Godly speakers available to us in this territory. We prayed and felt lead to ask Sammy Millar, Daniel Buckingham and Missy Ditchburn. And God’s totally been in that decision. Each speaker’s been humble and offered themselves as a vessel to be used, and so the Holy Spirit has been super evident,’ Vanessa reports.
First time camper 20-year-old Vasemaca Druku from Suva Central Corps agrees, testifying that, ‘I know God is calling me, but I keep doubting. God spoke to my heart through Daniel’s message and I received the confirmation I needed to be bold and share God’s word.’
Amplify—The Extended Version
This year’s Amplify was also a little different because of fog that rolled across Wellington Airport, preventing 48 campers from leaving. And so ‘Amplify—The Extended Version’ kicked off at Wellington City Corps on Sunday evening.
‘The generosity of Wellington City Corps was exceptional,’ reports Mat. ‘That’s a big group to accommodate and feed, but they quickly and graciously rose to the task and their hospitality was amazing.’ Some camper’s flights were delayed until as late as Tuesday evening, which meant Mat got to enjoy quality-time playing board games with the delegates from Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.
Developing and deepening relationships year upon year is a very special part of Amplify. First timer 18-year-old Amy Bucklar from Johnsonville Corps explains that while camps are not usually her scene because of big crowds and not enough time to get to know new people, ‘the groups are smaller here at Amplify and there’s time to sit down and connect with people and hear their stories. It’s a whole week and it is tiring, but it’s so worth it because you get to know people properly.’
Like Jim, Mat and Vanessa, Amy’s eager for the next Amplify too.
Thames Corps (Midland Division)
Age 16 • 1st Amplify
Minor Relational Ministry
Highlight ‘So many! One would be my Bible Study group. I’m just learning heaps of really good stuff!’
Hutt City Corps (Central Division)
Age 15 • 1st Amplify
Major Visual Arts
Highlight ‘I loved the Big Game! Our Bible Study groups competed against each other and it was a great bonding time.’
Hamilton City Corps (Midland Division)
Age 16 • 2nd Amplify
Major Music Performance
Minor Song Writing
Highlight ‘My Bible Study group got really close this year. Missy and Jordan were great leaders—it was good for me.’
Invercargill Corps (Southern Division)
Age 16 • 1st Amplify
Minor Relational Ministry
Highlight Hearing from God.
Kolovai Corps (Tonga Region)
Age 19 • 1st Amplify
Minor Hip Hop
Highlight Getting to know other young people.
Check out the Amplify 2020 highlights and exhibition night videos on the Creative Ministries Department YouTube channel here.