As the Seventh-day Adventist world church holds the General Conference (GC) session in San Antonio, Texas, about 550 young adults ages 18 to 35 are gathering for Impact San Antonio at the Marriott Rivercenter hotel from July 2 to 11.
The 10-day experience is composed of dynamic worship services and breakout sessions that will be accompanied by community service projects in the afternoons.
Dana Connell, community service project coordinator for Impact San Antonio, spoke to the Adventist Review about the event.
Q: How would you describe Impact San Antonio in a nutshell?
A: Impact San Antonio is a 10-day experience with your global Adventist young adult community. Impact is community. Impact is growing in Jesus. Impact is leadership in action. Impact is you.
Q: Why should young people be excited about it?
A: Because we were made for community with God and each other. This is a global way to celebrate and grow in both while reaching out to serve the local San Antonio community in creative, meaningful, and helpful ways.
Q: Why community service?
A: It’s one thing to be a tourist in a city and admire the beauty and events; it’s another to engage with the city to take part in helping in areas of personal hardship and struggle.
Q: What are some of the community service projects?
A: We have about 20 service and outreach projects taking place. We are partnering with local agencies to serve a homeless shelter, an HIV/AIDS hospice, and a center that works to combat the root issues of alcohol and drug use. We have some neighborhood clean-up drives, and landscaping and house-painting projects. The Street Art Ministry will be teaching through experience how to paint positive and gospel messages on a few walls in San Antonio. We are also partnering with some local Adventist churches to provide the manpower for some site improvements that will help them connect and serve their community even better.
We are doing an interactive children’s health expo in a low-income area where a lot of people struggle with heart disease and diabetes. We are doing some fun, trendy town-center outreaches like “Free Hugs,” “Free Water,” and “Need Prayer?”
We are also having an outreach bus, each day sponsored by a different Adventist television ministry, to go door-to-door in neighborhoods where the local churches have established “Homes of Hope” and go through a personalized survey get to know them a bit and find out what would be helpful to them. This way we can connect them locally and create greater awareness about the Christian family programming available in their area.
Finally, we are also partnering with the San Antonio human trafficking coalition for morning training and afternoon awareness events in the city center, as San Antonio has one of the highest rates of struggle in the country with this crime against humanity.
Q: What will the worship services and breakout sessions focus on?
A: The theme, “Life,” is about Christ permeating every part of our life and boldly, vibrantly, living that out. We will be talking about our individual calling and talents and how God wants to gift and use each one to bring hope and life to others as we experience it in Him. Our speakers will be sharing not only about living “Life” in Christ and their journey with Him, but also sharing specifically through the week where this intersects individually and challenges personally each of us.
Q: How does Impact San Antonio fit in with the General Conference session?
A: Impact San Antonio runs concurrent with General Conference session. So while everyone is meeting and making decisions, we are worshiping, having discipleship training, and serving the local community. While we don’t have combined meetings, we have left free time the first Friday to Sunday afternoons for delegates to enjoy wandering at the Alamodome and convention center, [in order] to visit the meetings and exhibit hall, and tour the city for a bit.
Q: How many confirmed delegates have registered for Impact San Antonio?
A: We have about 550 registered delegates.
Q: Can young adults still register?
A: There may be some people who only find out about Impact San Antonio at GC session and would like to register onsite. We could probably accommodate a few more; but we are full and sold out the International, Exclusive, and most of the Essential packages. (For details, check the Web site http://www.impactsa2015.com.)
Impact San Antonio excites me. The vision of the youth and young adult ministries leaders inspires me. Just last March during Global Youth Day, we experienced just how powerful it is to go out into the community and be the sermon. That was only one day. Impact San Antonio will be 10 days.
I was privileged to attend three world conferences on youth and community service events: Impact Thailand in 2003, Impact Taiwan in 2007, and Impact South Africa in 2013. Personal experience has taught me that these Impact events get me recharged and inspired to serve the Lord even more. I am sure that the effect of the San Antonio program will be felt all around the world as the delegates go back to their homes bringing . . . that spirit of community and service with them.
Be part of Impact San Antonio. Be part of a community of young adults eager for service. Serve a city. Touch lives. Experience God changing yours.
For more information, visit http://www.impactsa2015.com.