Why I Still Believe In HUGE Events

YC Alberta is just winding up. The huge roar of the massive crowd is still ringing in the ears of over 10 thousand students, leaders, speakers, and volunteers. And after the confetti is settled, the buses rumble out and sleep deprived teens slump over in their seats, leaders begin to reflect.

Having been to huge events as a youth pastor, volunteer, and workshop speaker, I continue to see at least three strategic reasons for getting as many students as possible out to these events.

 They Validate Christian Students’ Faith Stating,
“You Are Not Alone!”

When 10-100 youth meet at the church on a Friday night, so much great stuff can happen. Students bond with leaders and with each other. But in small numbers students often feel like the prophet Elijah, who felt he was all alone in his service for the Lord.

When these same teens come to an event where 1000’s of youth are worshiping the Lord, they get a much wider picture of the kingdom. They begin to understand that there are many hundreds of teens who are excited about their faith. For a moment they get a glimpse of what is described in Revelation, that every tribe and nation will be present in front of God.

 They Offer Excellent Choices and Exceptional Ministry:
Connecting with Every Kind of Student

I was amazed this weekend to see hundreds of students lined up for workshop on topics ranging from prayer to sex. Other students attended concerts. Leaders had exceptional seminars tailored for their needs. In the one weekend students received more teaching with more diversity than they would receive in 2 months of youth meeting.

What an excellent opportunity for students to follow up on their passions for worship, purity, social media, and sharing their faith. No youth group could ever provide so much but as hundreds of leaders work together incredible options are created for teens.

Jesus often addressed Thousands Sharing
Profound, Challenging Teaching

I have heard well-meaning pastors criticize “I believe in relational ministry as Jesus did.” What I am arguing for is that Jesus spoke to crowds over 5000 as well as the woman at the well. His disciples experienced Jesus’ mass ministry as well as the quiet walks on dusty roads and closed door meetings.

Jesus shared profound messages with the masses and while results were not immediately obvious only 50 days after the resurrection thousands are baptized! This weekend I interacted with dozens of students who were happy to admit that it was at this event that they first committed their life to Christ.

 So Thankful

I am thankful for the sacrificial work of extreme dream, the huge festival, break forth, Youth Specialties, and other conferences that for a weekend provide a wider perspective of the kingdom to teens. The huge event does not need to be mimicked each week at youth. The emotions and enthusiasm of the huge crowds cannot be sustained nor should they.  But students will have lasting memories of excellent speaking, powerful responses, and masses their age, who for a short time, can boldly worship God without embarrassment or apologies.

 Of course, this is my opinion. What do you think about massive youth events? 

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Ron Powell

ronpowell

Ron Powell is the Adviser to the Director of the Youth Ministry Institute at Vanguard College. He has been involved in youth ministry for over 30 years. He continues to volunteer, write, teach, and speak to parents, leaders and teens. If you would like to contact him you can email ron.powell@vanguardcollege.com

14 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. In the midst of the hours and hours of planning, the chaos, lost kids and medical emergencies it is easy for us to ask ourselves “why did we do this?” I appreciate your reminders!! Blessings!

  2. Hey Michelle, I hear you. Weighing the trouble against the value… that’s an excellent question! It is a demanding, courageous act to bring kids to a massive event! I pray that you will see lasting fruit in the lives of your students! (and that you are able to rest up a bit!)

  3. Ron, Thanks for the great thoughts, I have been a 18 year veteran of YC, I sometimes do struggle with the large setting, but my students are exposed to ministry, and opportunities I could never provide form them in several years of ministry. Some say That It’s about the big show, but might I remind us that that’s what Sunday’s are, us coming together to support each other celebrate the victories and pray for each other. A YC is basically Teen Church on a mega scale and when thousands of teens and leaders worship in one room, it changes lives. We can’t live in the big gatherings forever, but they give us that spark to keep going on…

    Just a few thoughts.

  4. This is a great perspective Tom and with 18 years at YC I’d say your opinion has been a long time in the making! I appreciate you weighing in on this!

  5. Great thoughts Ron. I was a youth pastor for 10 years and appreciate the time and effort required to organize my youth group The fundraiser, the hotels, the meals, and the long bus ride there and back. Youth leaders are a special breed of leader whose common denominator is that they value students more than sleep, comfort, or convenience especially if it means an opportunity to impact them for Christ. As a youth leader I always valued rallies and events like YC for the inspiration, equipping, encouragement, and challenge they provide to follow Christ. I believe there is strength in numbers and in those numbers courage is seeded in individuals to be who God has called them to be. YC is a GOD inspired dream to reach young people. I believe in the next generation, I believe in youth ministries, and I most certainly believe in HUGE events.

  6. Hey Mike thanks so much for writing in (your paragraph is better than my blog post any day!) I so much like what you are saying about courage. I love the way that you always inspire youth, youth leaders, and denominations not just in this country but all over the world. I marvel at what God has been able to accomplish through your surrender to the extreme dream he has given you!

  7. Marty Bergsays:

    Great thoughts. I have been involved with YC for a few years and I would absolutely agree with your perspective on this Ron. I have had the privilege of reading through testimonies that students post online after the event and it is undeniable that lives are impacted in profound and lasting ways at YC. Also, as a father of three kids 9-12, I’m looking forward to YC 2018 and beyond so they can have the experience of worshiping God along with 10000 friends.

  8. Marty! Great to hear from you too. How can people on this blog get to read some of those testimonies? I’d love to be able to leave a link! My daughters have been at YC for years now and they have come closer to Christ, bonded with their youth leaders, and been inspired to reach out to their friends. I am so thankful for all of you at http://www.ExtremeDream.ca for the incredible contribution you are making in Canada and around the world!!

  9. Great article! There are many things that I can teach my students, but there is something about YC (I believe it’s the Holy Spirit & answers to prayer) that makes most students that go there grow in their faith a little bit more and finally understand what I may have been teaching them all year. The fact that they get to spend time away together really helps to cement strong bonds of friendship and grow closer to God. I’ve been going to YC for 20 years and there has yet to be one where I didn’t feel touched by the Lord somehow. Its where i got my call, where my life begun to change, and where now i’m privileged to bring students to perhaps receive their own calls and grow. To see just one student “get it”… well, there’s nothing like it! it makes all the organizing, bus riding, lack of sleep, fundraising, and praying totally worth it. I’ll keep bringing them as longs as they’re making them!

  10. Hey Pedro, its so great to get your perspective! You are so right about the value of this incredible ministry! It is great to hear that you received your call to ministry at YC! I have heard from so many people that it is not only about salvation but God does so many other remarkable things in the lives of teens that He continues to build on throughout the year!

  11. Lauren Farrowsays:

    This is all so true. This is the first year of organizing a YC trip for my group. Since my youth pastor moved, myself and a few other people have stepped up as leaders. Technically being a youth myself, I joined together with another church in my town and organized it. Still being responsible for my group, doing the fundraising ect. was so stressful, but then as you watch your youth come to Christ and stand in the presence of God with over 10 000 other believers is when I realized how worth it all the stress was. I didn’t actually realize how much work, effort and stress is put in by the leaders of our churches to make going to YC possible. Huge props go out to leaders, volunteers and staff of churches and Extreme Dream Ministries for making this all possible.

  12. Hey Lauren! Good on you that you stepped in to make sure students got to YC! It is this kind of commitment that Mike was talking about above. I love have you put it also that it is all worth it to them come to Christ and stand in His Presence. God Bless you for going through all you did to make sure your group got to experience God in this powerful way!

  13. Pam Freckeltonsays:

    I so agree!!! We are from a small town of 2000 three hrs from Edmonton and it is so vital to us to get our group out to these events especially to see that they are not alone or just a small group. We have sent our own kids since the very first YC and now we have three of our grandchildren attending each year with our group. Friendships, memories, teaching,music and the list goes on but it is SO WORTH it to get them there. We have seen changed lives over the years and we do honor Mike and Donna Love for how they pour into the young people and stay true to the vision God called them to. We always impart to them to be grateful to be able to attend and we always make sure we thank our ushers and all volunteers that we see as we know without those great servants this could not happen.
    Last year four of our young people decided to attend all the worship sessions and they are now leading worship in our church and teaching others to step out. They have also been able to go to other communities and do worship and Drimes and we are so thankful that they followed the dream in their hearts and went for it!!!
    I am sure every group has stories and great testimonies of the power of God working in the lives of all who attend.
    I can testify that this is also a refreshing time for my husband and I and it pushes us to continue on with what God has called us to.
    This past weekend my 15 yr old granddaughter recieved a healing in her knee just after we paryed for young Jessica. She could run and jump and has not been able to that for 9 months!!! God moves BIG at YC!!!!

  14. What an incredible testimony to the power of God at work through YC! Thanks so much Pam for sharing with us! It is so inspiring to hear about great results from this ministry that are long lasting and going far afield! Blessings, –Ron

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