April 19, 2014

We Come to God and Then we Go for God

BY GERALD A. KLINGBEIL, associate editor AR/AW

weekends in Germany are always special. Shops are closed, sacred concerts
abound, and churches report record visitors. Over the past eight years,
Adventist young adults from all over Germany and Europe have met for
fellowship, inspiration, training, and outreach at the city of Mannheim on the
shores of the river Rhine. The motto of this year’s meeting from April 17-21,
2014, is “Lift Up Your Heads,” focusing upon personal readiness within the
context of the final events prior to the return of Jesus Christ. “We come to
God and then we go for God,” stressed pastor Doug Batchelor, president of
Amazing Facts, during the Thursday night opening sermon as he took his audience
to the moment of Isaiah’s call to ministry.

organization of this year’s Youth in Mission (YiM) congress was beset with an unusual amount of
difficulties and challenge, reported Baden-Württemberg Conference youth
ministries director Marc Engelmann during the opening remarks. Fire marshals of
the town had reduced the holding capacity of the main auditorium of the school
complex from 1,200 to 200. City officials also sent a note of a changed cost
structure, adding potentially €50,000 to the final bill, just weeks before the
event was to begin. Yet in spite of these challenges, participants were able to
enjoy fellowship, workshops, and inspirational music and preaching in a quickly
erected tent holding more than 1,500. Carrying to the front of the platform a
sack full of “burdens” Engelmann shared, “I am so happy that I can lift up my
head and look to Jesus—we wish you this experience in the coming days.”

Ryan, a general vice president of the General Conference and a passionate
promoter of missions, is one of the featured speakers of the event. Service to
others is another important opportunity for YiM participants. On Thursday
afternoon young adults shared food and hope with the homeless on the streets of
Mannheim and visited shut-ins and residents of several old age homes. Another
important program event involves missionary outreach, early morning moments of
prayer, a concert, training events in numerous workshops, a baptism, and
visiting the more than 40 booths highlighting young adults ministries and

arrived from all over Europe. Joachim Broegaard, a medical student from Denmark,
had traveled more than 1,000 km (c. 600 miles) to meet old friends and be
inspired by the programming. He also hoped to connect with other people
interested in medical ministry in Europe. Translation into English, Czech, and
Polish of the sermons in the main tent reinforces the international nature of
the event. Prayer ministry leader Raluca Stefan invited participants not only
to listen—but pray together.

Most of
the event’s logistics, including translations, sound, video, food services,
cleanup, and more is accomplished by a small army of volunteers. Before the
sermon on Thursday evening Michael Dörnbrack, a pastor and one of the original founders
of YiM, introduced Benny and his two friends John and Ellie. Benny, an
Adventist and rock climber, had introduced his buddy John to his pathfinder
group and over many years had begun to study the Bible with him. John, in turn,
had invited his girlfriend Ellie—so friends brought friends. Dörnbrack
challenged the audience to “not have a submarine faith” that only shows itself
on Sabbath morning for two hours. Lift up your heads—and share the good news
because that’s what friends do.