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.
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.