April 25, 2014

Decisions, Commitment, and a Broader Vision

Life is short,” challenged Pastor Doug Batchelor,
president of Amazing Facts and one of the main speakers of this year’s YiM
Congress in Mannheim, Germany, his audience, “therefore let’s not waste it.”
Youth and young adults accepted this challenge during the final days of the YiM
Congress: 67 decided for baptism; 58 committed to give a year of service to
Jesus; and 12 accepted God’s call to prepare for full-time ministry.

[Photos: Dominic Zeh]In a
culture of “maybe” and “perhaps” that is geared to convenience and
entertainment the more than 1,500 young adults of this year’s congress set a
clear counterpoint. In fact, the congress became a turning point for many. One
of the participants wrote on a feedback form: “I wanted to strengthen my relationship
with God and leave my sinful life behind me. Praise God! I had a wonderful
time!” Another participant, who was no Seventh-day Adventist, said: “It was my
first congress. I have never experienced anything like it before, but I was
deeply moved by the speakers and the atmosphere.” Mannheim 2014 clearly
resulted in a multitude of decisions for Christ.

Commitment marked another high point of the congress. 500
volunteers, roughly a third of all the registered participants, helped to make
this event a reality. They served everywhere—preparing food, cleaning restrooms
and showers, serving as ushers and security personnel, working with the audio
and video of the congress, and helping in many other ways. These volunteers did
not only pay the regular registration fee, they gave freely of themselves.
Following the final sermon on Monday morning, they, together with other
participants, moved 1,500 chairs back into classrooms and containers, swept
12,000 square meters of classrooms, hallways, auditoriums, and other spaces,
and returned the school complex back to its original state—all in two hours.

Decisions and commitment are based on vision. Monday
morning, YiM participants and leadership shared this vision. They decided to
focus in the remainder of 2014 on making friends, because only friends can win
friends for Jesus. Over the next two years (2015–2016) they committed to win
their friends for Jesus, culminating in a special celebration during the 2017
congress. Hundreds of young adults committed publicly to reach out to their
friends and give their best to bring them also to Jesus. Before they packed
their backpacks and suitcases, they once again sang the theme song of the 2015
YiM Congress: “Lift up your heads, see Jesus our King.” It was a little
foretaste of what heaven will be like.