Praise team singing during the evening session. Photo Credit: Samuel Girven
“I’m really excited to be here…it’s been so inspiring to see and hear so many stories and learn more about how we as the younger generation can effectively reach out to the community,” one participant from Wisconsin remarked. Many others echoed that idea as we prepared for the day.
After the morning meal, the general session began with a welcome from the Illinois Conference Youth Director, Michael Campos. We began a series of presentations from youth evangelists across the union, and “Table Talks,” group discussions breaking apart the presentations from each table’s perspective. The first presenter was Lily Widdicombe from Village Young Adults in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
“Do not be afraid to have small beginnings!” Widdicombe said. “Evangelism is not hype. Evangelism is not big projects…evangelism is about connections. Evangelism is about friendships formed, and people mentored.”
Later, Pastor Andres Flores from the Epic Church in Chicagoland posed a question: “How do we disrupt the disruption [in the world]?” This was only the beginning of many thought-provoking ideas and questions that would be posed throughout the morning.
The morning plenary session with Elder Jose Cortes Jr. began shortly afterwards. Cortes’ presentation was well received and engaging. “In order to meet [others] needs, you must be in touch with your community!” he said. “Nobody wants to be a part of a team where they cannot play.” Buoyed by Cortes’ infectious laugh and attitude, the audience began to respond, clap, and engage. It was a living atmosphere, rich with revival.
After lunch, the “Table Talks” and ministry presentations continued. Discussions flowed with questions such as, “How can we implement this in our local context?” After the discussions, each presenter hosted a breakout session related to their field of ministry. “Mental Health Matters”, “Medical Ministry”, and “Neighbors in Need” were just a few of the many options that participants could choose to attend.
The presenters also gain a lot from this conference. “I think what I have enjoyed the most is definitely the interaction,” said Keila Carmona, presenter of “Mental Health Matters.” They also hope that their presentations enable the youth to impact the community when they go back home. “I think the thing that I would hope the most is that people know that they are able to impact change, and that the change they can impact is relationships. If they remember that…that’s success. My mission is accomplished.” Carmona said.
Prayer, songs, and fellowship were the foundation of the evening session. Cortes finished the evening session with a personal story that reflected the theme of his message—baptize. It generated discussion that would continue for hours after the conclusion.
Later, all the participants separated into meetings with their own individual conference leadership to prepare ideas and projects for presentation at their home churches. Each conference’s breakout was unique. Some were relaxed. Others were more formal and operated their breakout like a roundtable discussion. All reflected the vision of the congress: “To join senior youth and young adults…to be inspired, trained, and resourced to use their lives to share the good news of the kingdom of God at their local churches.”
Samuel Girven, Cadillac Church’s assistant Communication secretary, blogs for the Lake Union Communication department. You can read earlier blogposts on the GYC conference here: GYC Day 1, GYC Day 2, and GYC Day 3.