On Labor Day weekend, September 1-3, Breath of Life Ministries partnered with the Lake Region Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to host a rally in Chicago, Illinois, United States, targeted to the younger generation. More than 150 young adults from across North America convened for the purpose of strengthening their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Friday night’s program was held at the historic Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church and on Saturday (Sabbath), the location was the Greenpoint Oasis non-denominational church.
In keeping with the theme, “Strengthening Your Core,” attendees participated in workshops, heard musical artists, viewed a stage play, and listened to power-packed messages delivered by Breath of Life speaker/director Debleaire Snell. The finale on Sunday was a networking and fellowship brunch on a rooftop in downtown Chicago.
“We are here to let you know that you are seen, heard, and loved,” Snell told the group.
The goal of the young adult rally was to re-engage a population that has disconnected from church and found false religious outlets online since the pandemic. Some of these false idols are in the form of their looks. “Young people tend to focus a lot on the outside,” Lake Region young adult ministries director James Doggette Jr. said. This is no surprise since they are the primary target for advertisers who spend billions of dollars trying to persuade them that their lives revolve around their outward appearance, he pointed out. The rally was developed, he said, because “we wanted to make sure we were doing an intentional job of strengthening the inner person.”
Organizers offered core classes on topics such as relationships, finance, prayer, and emotions. Feedback from a survey indicated the classes were very useful. One respondent provided her feedback in writing. “I wish we had more time for the classes, because if I was able, I would’ve attended every single class. Every single speaker was being led by God to teach His people, and it was an amazing experience for me.”
The issue of “church hurt,” defined as emotional, spiritual, and physical harm experienced in a church context, was also addressed head-on in a panel discussion, and registrants used this opportunity to text questions to be answered in a safe space.
Doggette expressed his delight with what God did in making the weekend a success. “Young adults traveled from around the U.S. and Canada — California, New York, Maine, Florida, Alabama, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Ontario.”
Plans are underway to conclude the year with a young adult summit in mid-December, to equip young adults with goal setting and execution tools for success in 2024.