Practicing and sharing Christian faith in a post-Christian world can be difficult, which is why more than a hundred young adults gathered at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney, Australia, on September 12, 2020, for an afternoon of sharing practical faith tips, inspiring talks, and round-table discussions.
Organized by the Sydney Adventist Young Adults (SAYA) team — a group of young Adventist professionals — the theme for the conference was “Counter Culture: Navigating Faith in a Post-Christian World.” Keynote presentations were given by Greater Sydney Conference youth director Simon Gigliotti, author and international speaker Heather Thompson Day, and first-year theology student at Avondale University College Sharee Patrick.
Each presentation explored how to navigate opposing church and world cultures and tips on how to reach out to people who need to hear about Jesus.
Attendee Tyler Kuulkers from Stanmore Adventist church said he enjoyed the practical aspect of the conference.
“I absolutely loved Simon and his practical tips,” Kuulkers said. “He always does an awesome job making whatever content he has super useful and super relatable!”
The afternoon also featured music from the Parramatta Adventist church band and a panel discussion about the practical ways in which young adults can connect with God on a daily basis. Attendees enjoyed a vegetarian lunch, hot drinks, and a light dinner and dessert provided by the venue.
Tabitha Krzar-Radovanovic, a member of the SAYA team who helped organize the program, said the event’s motivation was to try and engage a demographic of the church that is often overlooked.
“[Young adults] are the biggest group of people leaving the church, especially those who don't follow the traditional path of getting married young and having kids and following the cycle,” she explained. “If you don’t fit into that, there’s not as much room for you.”
Krzar-Radovanovic said that they are trying to provide something for young professionals — and all young adults who feel this way: “[We want] to encourage them to start coming back and feeling comfortable and bringing friends.”
Gigliotti agreed that the conference’s purpose was to empower young adults, listen to their frustrations, and give them a place where they could feel that they belong.
“[Adventist author] Peter Roennfeldt once said, ‘When young adults are held back from what God intended, we see frustration and disillusionment.’ I agree one hundred percent,” Gigliotti said. “We not only need to help young adults navigate life and faith in a post-Christian world, but also empower and release them for mission and service in God’s kingdom.”
You can watch GSC young adult conference 2020 program on YouTube.