Friday, September 16, 2016
In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul urges his young friend to “never let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for other believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, your faith, and your purity.” Like Timothy, the 36 youth delegates who attended Annual Conference in June took those words to heart. They were from all corners of the Susquehanna Conference, but a strong sense of unity settled over the group. The attitudes and actions of the youth exemplified the truth that, far from being the church of the future, they are a vital part of the church today.
A main goal shared by the youth at Conference was to benefit the Youth Service Fund. A lofty goal was set for Conference, a goal of $7,500. Each delegate took up the challenge with enthusiasm, and several fundraisers were hosted throughout the week. The YSF table, as always, sold T-shirts and name tags, and also hosted a basket auction. The popcorn stand in the back of Hitchcock Auditorium drew a line during afternoon sessions when the smell of fresh popcorn led to an outbreak of the munchies among the congregation. Table bussing, an annual favorite, commenced on both Thursday and Friday. This ever-successful fundraiser proved especially lucrative this year, earning the YSF fund over $2,000 during Friday lunch alone! The youth’s efforts, the generosity of the Conference members, and God’s goodness earned a final total of $7,300, just under the original goal, but still the most successful total ever reached.
While fundraisers and sessions comprised a large part of Conference, it was not all work and no play for the youth. Friendships formed immediately upon arrival, and the recreation room in Mountainview did not go unused. Devotions every morning and evening enabled the teens to strengthen relationships with God as well as one another. Though each delegate was their own person, with unique talents, interests, and opinions, the youth found unity in their love of Christ. When they took the stage Friday afternoon for their presentation, they challenged the congregation to follow five simple words, a truth they displayed themselves: Be like Jesus, love first.
The youth who attended Conference are living up to that command. The question is, are you?