‘Regenerate’: In Search of Spiritual Renewing

U.S. regional festival prompts young people to renew their commitment to Jesus.

Don Keele, Southern Tidings, and Adventist Review
‘Regenerate’: In Search of Spiritual Renewing
At the Regenerate festival, nearly 250 youth and young adults responded to the challenge of Vandeon Griffin, NAD associate youth ministries director, for them to be Christians who make a difference in the world. Regenerate is a day-long festival with the purpose of celebrating and inspiring youth to regenerate the church by being an active part of the church. [Photo: Cameron Reel]

The Holman Bible Dictionary gives this definition of “regenerate”: “The radical spiritual change in which God brings an individual from a condition of spiritual defeat and death to a renewed condition of holiness and life.”

“Regenerate,” a youth and young adult festival held annually in the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, based in Calhoun, Georgia, has precisely that goal in mind. 

The conference’s Youth Ministries and Young Adult Ministries seek first to celebrate what God is doing in and through the youth and young adults around the conference, and second, to inspire each attendee to move from a condition where perhaps their spiritual life has lapsed or is waning to a renewed commitment to walk in the life and light of Jesus.

“We strive to inspire our youth to regenerate the church by being a part of the church,” Jonathan Montes, youth ministries director for Georgia-Cumberland, said.

In 2022, the annual Regenerate was held at The Church in Liberty Square in Cartersville, Georgia. It featured music, workshops, and reports, all given by young people. Vandeon Griffin, associate youth and young adult ministries director at the North American Division of the Adventist Church, was the keynote speaker.

The day started with students from schools and groups across the conference sharing their experiences on last year’s mission trips. In addition, attendees heard from campers who participated in DiscipleTrek, a three-week summer camp at Cohutta Springs Youth Camp that encourages teens to go deeper into their discipleship with Jesus.

During the morning message, Griffin encouraged youth to be “loud Christians.” One example of this is by bold and unashamedly Christian actions and interactions, he said. As he finished his message, Griffin issued a powerful call to the youth, challenging them to be Christians who make a difference in the world. Approximately 250 young people surged forward in response.

Afternoon sessions again provided opportunities for attendees to express themselves and learn from others. The early afternoon sessions included a youth-led improvisational session; Q&A with Gary Rustad, Georgia-Cumberland Conference president; and seminars addressing negative emotions, getting involved in social media ministry, and how to live the gospel.

The day ended with the Expression Session, which provided an opportunity to not only celebrate the gifts and talents of youth and young adults in the conference but also how they are uplifting and supporting the church. Griffin closed the day with another message challenging each attendee to continue their walk with God.

As the festival came to a close, one attendee commented, “I feel I have been regenerated!” Parents also expressed their gratitude that the church was providing opportunities for young people to actively participate in events specifically geared toward them. Plans are under way for the next Regenerate event, scheduled for March 2023.

The original version of this story was posted by Southern Tidings.

Don Keele, Southern Tidings, and Adventist Review