More than Just a Weekend
The ministry of GYC reaches much further
BY GERALD A. KLINGBEIL, associate editor, Adventist Review
The Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) movement is known primarily for its inspiring and stirring annual conventions. For five days a year one city in the North American Division is being swamped and impacted by thousands of young adults (and an increasing number of older folks equally on fire for God) who are keen to learn about evangelism and interested to search Scripture and discuss Seventh-day Adventist theology and practice. However, GYC is not just a once-a-year long-weekend ministry.
Over the past years GYC has cosponsored year-round evangelistic programs for young people (such as the iPreach program, cosponsored with It Is Written), has helped to organize regional conferences, and has begun to export some of the energy and enthusiasm to other parts of the world. The programs began in 2002 in Pine Springs Ranch, California, with an unexpected 425 registered participants; seven years later the 2009 Louisville, Kentucky, conference brought more than 5,700 attendees on Sabbath morning together who covenanted to be “unASHAMED” of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This phenomenal growth is reflected not only in the increasing numbers of registered participants, but also in the reach, throughout the year, of events sponsored or associated with GYC—all over the country.
For example, under the title of “So Much to Share . . . So Little Time,” GYC coordinated the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference camp meeting young adult program at Highland Academy, Portland, Tennessee, from May 28 to June 5, 2010.
Prior to the fifty-ninth General Conference session in Atlanta, the South East Youth Conference organized a full-time “Summer of Evangelism” training program in Atlanta, Georgia, that, over a period of five weeks, helped young adults share their faith more effectively.
GYC Southwest partnered with Iona Missions and invited young adults for one week in June 2010, to discover precious gospel truth in the book of Galatians—premium personal Bible study moments that equipped the participants to understand Scripture better and help others rediscover the joy of the Word.
October 13-17, 2010, saw a crowd of eager young adults from the southeastern part of the U.S.A. gather at Southern Adventist University for five days of study, seminars, passionate preaching, and practical outreach. This event was organized by the South East Youth Conference (SEYC), a regional chapter of GYC.
Another five-day event, July 14-18, 2010, took place at Weimar College, California, and was organized by the Western Youth Conference. It featured dynamic preaching (by, among others, Doug Batchelor) and, you guessed it, seminars that equipped the participants to be more effective gospel communicators.
But the influence of the GYC movement is not limited only to the U.S.A. Youth training events in Canada, Australia, Germany, and other places around the world have been inspired by the successful GYC grassroots movement. These young adults are serious about finishing the work and are not bashful when they talk about their soon-coming Savior. This is definitely more than just a weekend—it is a call to the larger church, you and I, to step out of our comfort zones.