Generation of Youth for Christ
Takes Louisville by Storm
Evangelism, service projects highlight event
n December30, 2009, thousands of young adults flew into the city of Louisville, Kentucky, for the Generation of Youth for Christ’s (GYC) eighth annual convention. The theme, “Unashamed,” challenged young people to become unashamed about their belief in Christ, as well as the mission of the Seventh?day Adventist Church. The nightly ?presentations began with a presentation by GYC’s president, Justin McNeilus. McNeilus challenged young people with ?a unique view of Noah’s ark. He was followed with Spirit-filled messages from David Asscherick in the evening and Sebastien Braxton in the morning.
Attendees could select seminars from a variety of speakers, such as ?Ron Clouzet, North American Division ministerial secretary; Don Mackintosh, director of the Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism; conference speaker Nicole Parker; and many others. There were more than 20 different seminar tracks, and some attendees found it difficult to choose only one, organizers said.
EXPERT PANEL: Sabbath at the recent GYCevent in Louisville, Kentucky, featured (left to right): NAD president Don Schneider, Adventist Review editor and executive publisher Bill Knott, General Conference vice presidents Ella Smith Simmons and Mark Finley, and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division president Paul Ratsara. [Photo: Alden J. Ho]
Attendance swelled to approximately 4,600 on Sabbath. During the morning segment Don Schneider, president of the North American Division, interviewed three young people, then provided a report from North America. A panel consisting of General Conference representatives followed. Young people from around the world submitted questions; topics ranged from evolution to women’s role in the church, and why there are not more Adventists around the world.
The panel consisted of Schneider; Bill Knott, Adventist Review editor and executive publisher; General Conference general vice presidents Ella Simmons, Mark Finley, Ted Wilson, and Mike Ryan; and Paul Ratsara, president of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division. Finley presented the morning sermon.
Evening meetings featured a mini-series on creation. A college student, a scientist, a theologian, and an author each articulated a defense for a biblical, literal, seven-day creation. In his segment Adventist Review columnist Clifford Goldstein said in reference to the toleration of evolution, “You can be an Adventist, [or] you can be an evolutionist, but you cannot be both!”
An outreach effort took place Friday afternoon. Attendees boarded 38 buses staged around the convention center. After every seat was filled, 400 people remained without a place on a bus.
The enthusiastic “remnant” of 400 then took to downtown streets, searching for those with an interest in studying the Bible. In a few short hours more than 2,000 young people brought in the new year by collecting 960 Bible study requests and giving out 34,000 pieces of GLOW literature.
During GYC’s final day attendees were challenged by a charge in a message from Chester Clark III. Not content with leaving the city without another outreach opportunity, the young people organized a health expo that attracted approximately 400 people.
YOUTH AUDIENCE: Part of the crowd of 4,600 during Sabbath meetings at the GYC event. [Photo Alden J. Ho]
Attendees left charged from this year’s conference: “I saw the difference in my friends when they came back. Now I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn,” said Peter Tobing, a first-time attendee from Loma Linda, California.
Added Martina Houmann of Frederick, Maryland, “GYC really has made me realize the need and encouraged me to see that there are so many still on fire for God. Listening to the sermons makes me want to pray more, study, and share.”
Kayla and Megan Jenkins, from Moundville, Missouri, agreed that outreach was the highlight, saying, “It was such a special feeling to go out and get involved!”
According to Knott, “There are few things more faith building than to see thousands of young Adventists gathered around God’s Word for study, worship, and witness. For far too long in the North American church we’ve been deploring what isn’t happening with Adventist youth. GYC is showing all of us a powerful new direction that energizes participants and propels them into full participation in the life and mission of the church.”
During the final farewell the executive committee of GYC announced next year’s theme—“No Turning Back.” The venue will be Baltimore, Maryland, December 29, 2010. Reflecting on the event, McNeilus said, “This has been one of GYC’s best conferences to date. We were able to showcase to our attendees our support and love for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, our church. The young people will leave here with a sense of urgency and humility of the magnitude of a life lived unashamed!”
GYC organizers plan to post the audio from this year’s conference on www.gycweb.org.
--Reported by GYC with Adventist Review Staff.