To say that On the Edge is a unique experience is quite an underwhelming description, and it’s hard to heap consistent praise on an event without sounding generic (or like you’re being paid!). However in this very special circumstance I feel it’s entirely necessary to cram as much excellence as I can into the next few words!
I started the week asking myself the obligatory questions of a newcomer ,‘who are these people and what on earth am I doing!?’, but quickly discovered that pretending I knew the answers would have to suffice until I actually found them (this totally worked for about five minutes). It never really mattered though, because OTE is not made for one type of person, and I realised the now-obvious truth that God didn’t create variety to promote singularity. But, philosophical revelations aside, I also discovered the real power of prayer firsthand on many occasions, and it was this constant communication with God that stole the show for me.
OTE is one of those rare places where it’s hard to lose sight of God, especially for such a long period of time. There is prayer in the morning, prayer in our devotions, prayer for lunch, prayer f… you get the idea. Seriously though, my spiritual batteries were on constant charge for the entire week, and it was so refreshing. It’s all too easy for us as Christians to let church act as our set up for the week and allow our focus on God to drift until next Sunday comes around. Living at OTE does away with that notion though, in fact, it completely demolishes it. Being part of a consistently prayerful community not only allowed me walk with Jesus in so many parts of my daily life that I previously deemed insignificant; but it encouraged me to take a peaceful, well rounded attitude to the event every night and serve both God and the kids involved with a joyous heart. Servitude does not drag at OTE, it drives you forward.
In hindsight it’s funny just how appropriately named On the Edge is…there are very few comfort zones available once you commit yourself to God, but that’s the beauty of a first time experience. It made me think of several biblical characters (Moses, David etc) and the fact that many of them achieved greatness through ways they never would have guessed themselves. So, on that front, I feel justified in saying that OTE is a fantastic way for God to unlock potential in all of us. I personally went in offering some abilities with a guitar and a quick devotion but left as an honorary member of the AV team and even found myself on stage once or twice dressed as a testosterone fuelled nutcase.
I could spend an entire day trying to throw in everything that OTE has shown me about God, but as I remember watching over 100 kids with their hands raised in open worship, I’ll have to let that image do the talking for me.
So if someone asked me for one lesson to prepare a new first timer, I’d say that you don’t bring God along for the ride on OTE, he is your fuel, your ignition and your driver.