Delegates to the Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress in Chicago on Feb. 17, 2024| Photo credit: Katie Fellows

February 22, 2024

At Evangelism Congress, Young People Encouraged to “Do Something” for Their Communities

Through a God-ordained encounter, a group of Andrews University students registered just days before the congress. One family from Indiana traveling to the event was in an accident totaling their vehicle but they still pressed on. A high school senior wondered if it was too late to give her life to Christ and realized it was now time to be baptized.

These were some of the stories from the 300-plus delegates who attended the “Now is the Time” bi-annual Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress held in Northbrook, Chicago Feb. 16-18, 2024. The weekend was a culmination of years planning for an event geared toward equipping and supporting a generation of youth in their evangelistic endeavors within their respective churches and communities.

Sacramento’s Capitol City Church Pastor Damian Chandler, was the featured speaker and he captivated the audience with his powerful speeches, creating unforgettable moments throughout the weekend.

Guest Speaker Damian Chandler encouraged attendees to do more to change their communities. | Photo credit: Katie Fellows
Guest Speaker Damian Chandler encouraged attendees to do more to change their communities. | Photo credit: Katie Fellows


Dollar-for-dollar match

Through the years, the Lake Union Conference has witnessed remarkable outcomes, with young adult leaders utilizing a total of $515,872 from a collaborative evangelism fund established by the union, local conferences and local churches to initiate various evangelism projects. The aim of all these initiatives has consistently been to spread the message of the gospel throughout their local communities. Notably, this year's evangelism fund reached an all-time high, with a generous contribution of $85,000 from the Lake Union.

For every dollar (up to $85,000) from the union, the local church will match one dollar. (For example, if an evangelism project total budget is $1,000, and the local church decides to support with $500.00, the Lake Union will match that $500.00, completing the $1,000 the project needs.) This gives young adults a total of $170,000 for evangelism, further emphasizing the conference's commitment to empowering and encouraging the youth and young adults in their mission to share the teachings of Jesus Christ within their church community.



Since 2013, the gathering has occurred every other year and has brought together senior youth and young adults aged 16-35 from across the Lake Union Conference, along with pastors, youth directors, ministerial directors, conference presidents and union administrators.

In 2016, KhaiKhai Cin, the organizer of this year's congress, saw his own evangelism initiative take flight, thanks to the Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress, and was determined to extend the same opportunity to others. KhaiKhai and his sister, Cady, along with youth from the Grand Rapids Myanmar Company and Battle Creek Zomi Group launched Myanmar Community Services (MCS), a ministry designed to assist their fellow refugee communities in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "I've seen the impact this event had on myself and many young people and I wanted to make sure others could experience that as well," KhaiKhai explained.

Just two weeks ago, a few days before this congress was set to kick off, KhaiKhai, a seminary student at Andrews University, bumped into a friend, Ethan Drew, and encouraged him to attend. Ethan happened to run into his friend Eliana Fisher. Ethan told Elina about the upcoming event and she grew very excited— so much so she immediately reached out to her pastor at the St. Joseph Church, Roy Castelbuono, and told him she wanted to go. At the church board meeting a few days later, members approved eight young people—most of them with no ties to the congregation—to attend the congress. “It was so easy,” said an elated Eliana.

She considers attending the congress, a “God encounter.” Last summer, she and about five other friends began a Bible study. They wanted to incorporate an outreach activity and soon began handing out water bottles inscribed with inspiring verses to beach-goers at the nearby Silver Beach. Throughout last summer they saw their group grow to some 30-40 young people. “Isn’t that just crazy?” she said. “Friends told friends who told others.” A mixture of Andrews students and community young adults were drawn to a space where they feel valued. This last Valentine’s Day, they distributed cards to nursing homes residents. The St. Joseph Church has entrusted them with the responsibility of leading worship service once a month.

Group sponsored by the St. Joseph Church in Michigan to attend the Lake Union Youth Congress
Group sponsored by the St. Joseph Church in Michigan to attend the Lake Union Youth Congress

Eliana said they’re now busy readying their application for funds to take their initiatives even further. “We heard practical ways to get new ministries started.” They’re thinking about doing a triathlon, which they hope leads to a Vacation Bible School and eventually grows into a Pathfinder club. They’re also hoping to get a church van to provide transportation to a health clinic for those in need. They’re also looking at starting a community garden. “The list is endless,” said the second-year master’s student in the Andrews University’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

This weekend, she noted, was a reminder of how much God cares for us. “God worked out a miracle for us to be a part of it, where our ministry can now reach even more people.”


Another testimony came from Lily, a young woman from Indiana, who told the audience about the weekend gave her an opportunity to bond with her youth group and sealed her decision for baptism in a few weeks. [Click video to hear her heartfelt testimony.]

KhaiKhai explained several people have already submitted their ideas, but there are a lot of funds left. “Keep praying,” encouraged KhaiKhai. “If you do not have the perfect project idea yet, God will open your mind to meet the needs of your community. You may not know the impact of your project, at least on this side of Heaven, but what you do with God's calling will have an eternal impact on others.”

To learn more about the Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress, visit

To see more photos, visit

To watch the archived programs, please go to our YouTube channel.     



Photo credit: Katie Fellows


Cassidy Miranda-Chavez is communication and marketing director for the Center for Youth Evangelism.