About 330 youth leaders met in the town of Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, for the third gathering of the PULSEmeet leadership training to learn and exchange ideas with other youth leaders from across the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Europe, on February 6-10, 2019.
PULSEmeet provides for the continuing education of youth leaders, youth pastors, and lay workers with a passion for Christian youth ministry. Under the theme “My Church, My Home, My Mission,” participants were trained, encouraged, and inspired to keep making their best efforts on behalf of the young people in Europe.
“PULSEmeet is designed to offer quality training, professional encouragement, and spiritual inspiration,” explained EUD youth director Jonatan Tejel.
“It is also an international platform to reflect, discuss, and pray with youth leaders and practitioners from all over Europe. It deals with the challenges and opportunities to reach young people with the gospel, to empower and disciple youth in various ways to live up to their God-given potential, and to help the emerging adult to be fully integrated into the life and the mission of the local Adventist communities of faith.”
Central to Christian youth ministry is the transmission of faith in relevant, authentic, and relational ways, Tejel said. It is communicating the gospel through play, images, video, music, and many other creative means. But most important to youth workers is living the testimony that Jesus has changed one’s own life, he said. “Here, you can taste and experience the reality of the gospel!”
Guest speakers at the leadership training included Adventist Church youth director Gary Blanchard, Swiss Union Conference president Stephan Sigg, Walla Walla University Church pastor Troy Fitzgerald, Andrews University music director Adriana Pereira, and British Union Conference youth director Dejan Stojkovic. All of them have substantial experience in the field of youth leadership training, and their expertise helped to empower and highlight the abilities of the participants, organizers said.
Alongside the plenary sessions were a choice of roughly 26 workshops each day, presented by teachers, pastors, and doctors, all of whom are experts in their area of youth work.
Youth Experts’ Advice
In his opening message, Gary Blanchard invited the participants to reflect on the reality that “youth leaders are fighting against demons for the souls of the younger generations.” Blanchard said that “because of this, they must go up on the mountain of prayer and receive supernatural power; they must face what they are dealing with and set young people free.”
Stephan Sigg urged youth leaders to be the church. “This church is the reflection of God’s will on the earth, and it is called to be a place of refuge,” he said.
In his presentation, Troy Fitzgerald opened the way to walk with Jesus. “You need to know who you’re walking with,” he said. “Walk with Jesus to know better what He is saying to you.”
Adriana Pereira urged youth leaders to be attentive to avoid creating conflict, especially with music. As music is a powerful and amazing language, she said, youth leaders should put together something remarkable through music ministry.
Dejan Stojcovic, the final speaker of PULSEmeet 2019, launched a challenge to all attendees who are waiting for strong input for their ministry: “If you want to change the world, go and love your family!” he said.
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, the organizers report. “PULSEmeet has been an opportunity to meet MY CHURCH, with capital letters, because sometimes we’re tempted to believe that our church is just my local church, where we work every Sabbath,” said María José from Spain. “But OUR CHURCH is much more than that. It is in so many different places, with so many interesting people, intelligent, creative, clever, consecrated people willing to spread the good news to the world, and that has been refreshing!”
Basti, from Germany, said, “It was a very intensive meeting. I learned how I can lead others to Jesus spiritually and how I can perform more mentoring in my conference,” he said.
For Marisabel, from Florence, Italy, it was about the importance of networking and establishing partnerships. “PULSEmeet was not only a formative experience but also an opportunity to learn the importance of building together, connecting with others, taking care of climbing the mountain, then descending and bringing God’s love to people,” she said.
Joachim from Germany summarized the general feeling about the event. “PULSEmeet was encouragement from God,” he said.