« June 2010 « Union News
Prayer Congress Directs Youth to “Salvation and Service”
Though she was hundreds of miles away, 9-year-old Veronica Slack, who attends Capital Memorial church in Washington, D.C., decided to be baptized after watching, over the Internet, the Just Claim It 2 youth prayer congress in Columbus, Ohio.
While it is impossible to say how many others were similarly impacted by the four-day event, thousands of young people — 2,898 registered delegates and about 5,800 on Sabbath — from around the North American Division stood ready at JCI2 for “Salvation and Service.”
With prayer at its core and youth leading in many aspects, the NAD Youth Ministries event was designed to train young people for effective ministries of their own. JCI2 combined the Youth Ministries Leadership Summit, the Just Claim It 2 Prayer Congress, Ignition—GODencounters for Young Adults, and the Children’s Worship Festival sponsored by the Ohio Conference.
Calling the different activities at the congress “filling stations for spiritual growth, training, motivation and encouragement,” pastors James Black Sr., NAD Youth Ministries director, and Manny Cruz, NAD associate Youth Ministries director, noted that delegates filled “their spiritual cups through prayer initiatives, community mission projects, evangelism outreach, teen preaching/testimonies, mass choir/orchestra, workshops/seminars, recreation and a Sabbath youth rally and parade.”
Lindsey Gibbons, 13, came all the way from the South Hampton church in Bermuda looking to fill her spiritual cup with knowledge. “I really enjoyed the workshop on diversity,” she said. “In a lot of our churches in Bermuda, we tend to put people in boxes, and I want to take what I learned here to make my church a better place.”
Matt Teller and his wife, Mayda, from the New Haven church in Kansas City, Kan., took several of their Midland Adventist Academy students to the event. “Some of the kids were really enthusiastic about outreach,” he observed.
One of his students, Jordan Wiles, 16, also a member of the New Haven church, said although getting out of school was an added benefit, “I wanted to witness to others and thought this would be a nice way to learn how.”
Dayna King, 17, Tevin Carter, 17, and Kellie Dehm, 18, all members of Miracle Temple in Baltimore, found a service session reaching out to juvenile offenders life-changing. King noted that he could have been one of those offenders had he not accepted Christ.
Understanding that a strong prayer life leads to strong service, Ann Roda, Family Ministries pastor at Chesapeake Conference’s New Hope church in Fulton, Md., coordinated various prayer experiences while in Columbus. One of those experiences included placing four massive boards in the convention center for young people to write their prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. “Most people need to feel, touch and hear Him before God becomes real,” she said.
Rogers Johnson, pastor of three churches in Texas (New Beginning in Athens, Cariker Street in Nacogdoches and North Lufkin in Lufkin), can already predict what youth will do with the training they received. He taught the hands-on street ministries seminar. “I’ve been doing this seminar for 10 years,” he said. “I’ve seen participants become more active in their churches and become youth leaders and youth directors. One guy even started a church.”
Guest speaker Eddie Hypolite summed up the week’s meetings in his Sabbath sermon when he warned leaders not to make the church’s doctrines a yoke and burden. “We are teaching the traditions of men … as commands of God. But the centrality of who we are is Jesus. Jesus is not a doctrine.”
To see more photos from JCI2, visit www.adventistphoto.com.