Global Youth Day (GYD), a mission initiative of the Youth Ministries department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, will be celebrated on March 20, 2021 around the world.
The theme of GYD for 2021 is “Reaching Out: Colors, Cultures and Communities,” which stems from the Bible story of the woman at the well and Jesus’ interaction with her.
GYD began as a day of mission outreach in 2013. During that inaugural event, only 12 service projects were organized world-wide. Over the past eight years, GYD has grown exponentially, touching thousands of young people and producing hundreds of creative service projects in local communities.
“It’s an opportunity for Seventh-day Adventist young people around the world to collaborate together … and be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus,” said Gary Blanchard, Youth Ministries director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
How will Adventist youth accomplish this in 2021? By creating intentional opportunities for conversation, Blanchard said. Youth leaders in every region of the world church will cater outreach specific to their local communities on March 20.
“Jesus is our example; we follow Him as His disciples. It’s important for the church not to wait for people to come to us. We must go to them,” Blanchard said.
“It’s also important to not stay within our own little groups, although it’s natural to do that,” he added. “If we do, we are never be able to reach the harvest. We need to reach out to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”
The Youth Ministries department provides suggestions for outreach projects to do, such as:
Kicking off GYD this year will be three one-hour programs hosted on the General Conference Youth Ministries’ Facebook page—each designed for different time zones to participate. The first show will air on Friday, March 19 at 5:00 p.m. EST, followed by programs on Saturday (Sabbath), March 20 at 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. EST.
At the end of each hour program, the various regions of the world church will have the opportunity to share what youth groups are doing in their areas. At the end of the Sabbath day, all participants are invited to join a 30-minute wrap-up show at 5:30 p.m. EST to share testimonies and encourage one another.
“The whole purpose of GYD is not just to have another program or event,” Blanchard said, “but to get young people excited about making service a lifestyle. We hope that reaching out to different colors, cultures and communities doesn’t just happen one day a week or one day a year.”
Blanchard points out that GYD is a perfect lead-in to the global Youth Week of Prayer that starts on that Saturday (Sabbath) evening and ends with Homecoming Sabbath on March 27. The theme for Week of Prayer 2021 is “I Will Go,” echoing Isaiah’s answer when he was called by God.
Yeury Ferreira, director of Hispanic Ministries for the Greater New York Conference in the United States, wrote the devotional materials for the Week of Prayer that are available for download. Ferreira’s messages focus on spiritual renewal, personal healing and forgiveness, guidance, and empowerment for service.