Imagine the Potential, our Passion & God’s Plan…

Imagine with me for a moment.  Imagine a conference that is more than a conference.  Imagine children and youth leaders desiring to be more effective.  Imagine worship that humbly points to God.  Imagine challenging and powerful leadership insights inspired by God’s Word.  On April 26-28 of 2013, 300 next generation leaders didn’t have to imagine, we experienced Newfoundland’s very own Next Generation Leadership Conference.  This year, we were encouraged to IMAGINE the potential, our passion and God’s plan.

Photo: Stephen Andrews

The weekend was held together by this verse: “[God], who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”[i]

Imagine the potential…

Sam Luce, children’s pastor of Redeemer Church in Utica, NY[ii], started the conference out by outlining a few things every leader needs to get right.  In summary: a good leader delegates, is humble and eager to serve, connects where necessary, and is priority and value driven, while always understanding that God is enough!  Imagine the potential if we all possessed those attributes.

Dan Bursey, a family entertainer and Compassion advocate[iii], also challenged attendees by sharing how everyone has the potential of changing the world of poverty.  By sponsoring one child at a time, hopeless situations can change into hopeful ones.  Imagine the potential if we all became advocates of fixing world hunger.

Imagine our passion…

On Saturday morning, Paul Robertson of Youth Unlimited[iv], talked about the culture of today’s youth.  He looked at Paul’s passion in Acts 17:16-23.  Paul had a sense of concern, responsibility and gratitude, but remained respectful.  Robertson suggested that we can do the same by listening before speaking, because there’s a generation waiting to be heard.  Imagine if we were all passionate about listening.

That night, Dr. Marv Penner[v], talked about who leaders are.  There are times when we think we have enough strength to lead on our own; however, if we don’t make sure God is at the centre of our passion, then we will eventually fill the void with pride.  Imagine if we were a generation of leaders who were passionate about God being at the core of our leadership, not ourselves.

But it wasn’t all talking.  Melina Dulluku, worship leader at Highway Gospel Church in Scarborough, ON[vi], led us into worship during the conference.  There were a number of amazing moments of worship, including a time when everyone spontaneously started singing “10 Thousand Reasons” before she started singing herself.  Imagine the passion of pure and humble worship.

Imagine God’s plan…

“Imagine a generation where God is priority #1,” is what Natalie Rogge[vii] opened with Sunday morning.  She wanted leaders to know that there is a journey ahead.  It’s called God’s plan, and leaders need to remember: when we feel surrounded, we need to seek God, take a stand, see how God will pull us through, and sing joyfully.  Imagine if we all sought to understand God’s plan, rather than their own.

The IMAGINE theme continued throughout the entire weekend.  From the humorous interludes to every workshop, “imagining what God can do” continued to be the focus.  There is unimaginable POTENTIAL with God when we turn over the PASSION He has equipped us with so that He can be the center of the PLAN.

Just imagine.

 


[i] Eph. 3:20-21, NIV.

[ii] samluce.com

[iii] danbursey.com; compassion.ca

[iv] paulrobertson.ca

[v] http://www.cpyu.org/Page.aspx?id=324630

[vi] melina-d.ca

[vii] newlifemilton.com

** Photo taken by Stephen Andrews http://500px.com/stephentcandrews

Quiet Moments – Zephaniah’s Impact

This past Thanksgiving weekend, over 2000 teenagers and young adults joined together in Mile One Stadium in St. John’s, Newfoundland to do one thing – Surrender to the one true God!  Not only was the weekend filled with worship, popular Christian bands, keynote speakers, and break-out sessions; YC 2012 was a conference of many quiet moments.  With a theme like Surrender, such moments just made sense.

The quite moments…

Friday night ended in a quiet moment.  After Mike Pilavachi spoke on Zephaniah 3:17, he made the call to Surrender their lives to God.  Instantly, over fifty people responded with another fifty or more to join them as the night progressed.  People, some for the first time, started to really experience the words of Zephaniah…

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.  (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV)

Saturday night ended in quiet moment.  After Matt Maher led the YC registrants into a beautiful quiet moment of worship, the Spirit naturally continued to work in many lives.  As people started to respond accordingly, Mike Pilavachi embraced God’s plan for the night and proceeded to help bring facilitation and order.  There was a beautiful sense of God’s presence in the stadium.  In many cases, God truly spoke to individuals in ways they have never experienced before.  Some were experiencing the words of Zephaniah on a whole new level.

Sunday was no different.  Leeland closed the conference with a concert of worship.  While offering up some of their best material, Leeland took a minute to share salvation.  He shared Zephaniah 3:17 and offered a chance to repeat a prayer of repentance.  The afternoon was filled with: a call to serve the one true God; a story of love; and, a purpose for ministry.

God is at work…

You might be thinking, “This is a simple to pull off…all you have to do, is plan for a theme like Surrender, and schedule ‘quiet moments’ along the way.”  This might be true; however, many of these moments actually happened outside of the planned schedule.  The YC planning committee works hard every year to schedule a great weekend.  That said, they always pray that God’s will is accomplished no matter how much planning occurs prior to the event.  God’s authority is evident through the numerous unplanned powerful quiet moments of Surrender throughout the weekend.

The Words of Zephaniah…

It’s amazing how the words of Zephaniah rang true throughout the whole weekend!  From Friday night to Sunday afternoon, God’s promise of salvation, encouragement, love, and joy became the source of the quiet moments of Surrender.