By Carl Stagner
The Church of God knows IYC2014 is all about life change. Every time students gather together for the International Youth Convention, they encounter the Holy Spirit’s comforting, compelling, and convicting presence. This year was no different, as thousands of students made first-time commitments to Christ, renewed commitments to Christ, received calls to ministry, and experienced freedom from a variety of personal struggles. Students and leaders alike accepted the Galatians 5:25 challenge to live InTUNE with purpose, purity, power, and people.
Before the lights, the bands, and crowds, the heart of IYC had already begun. Before IYC, Church of God youth groups take advantage of the opportunity to take part in work projects—this year through the IYC Mission Experience and Lead222. From June 29 until the start of the convention, students began a work in the greater Nashville area. Even before the convention began, God began a work in these students’ hearts.
During every worship service, enthusiasm for God spread contagiously through the auditorium at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, where students worshiped en masse and, thanks to recent expansions, in one room. Music performed by Anthem Lights, Alanna Story, and Passion with Kristian Stanfill reached decibels only matched by the echoing of five thousand voices raising the roof and ten thousand hands clapping. When the enthusiasm of thousands of students boil over into rhythmic jumping, it’s hardly a stretch to imagine its impact on the Richter scale—yes, the floor actually did shake! But InTUNE with the Spirit, these students knew when to dial it back a notch. Can you imagine thousands of teenagers taking a stroll at 9:45 at night in complete silence? During the Silent Walk on Monday, July 7, that’s exactly what they did. And perhaps as powerful as the silent prayers that students offered was the chance to hear the voice of the Spirit above the noise of everyday life.
David Nasser, Becky Tirabassi, Kyle Idleman, and Greg Stier delivered
impassioned messages that resonated with today’s youth. Though not advertised, Sidewalk Prophets and Bridgetown made guest appearances. One of the biggest surprises came when Sean and Catherine Lowe, of the seventeenth season of ABC’s The Bachelorette, took the stage to share their testimony of purity. A range of conferences directly confronted issues of relevance to Church of God students, including sexual purity, relationships, and sharing faith at school. National recording artist For King and Country presented a concert for a packed house, and the ever-popular and always-funny Skit Guys brought the house down.
IYC2014 students did not leave host city Nashville without leaving a mark. On Monday afternoon, IYC attendees dispersed across the Nashville area and made an impact on the community for Christ that students and many Nashville residents will never forget. Students cleaned up parks, beautified schools, prepared housing units for low-income families, shared the gospel, and packed 75,000 meals to combat global hunger. Additionally, Church of God students gave $64,000 for Spread the Word.
IYC2014 left an impact on students, leaders, hotel staff, and the city of Nashville. From July 5 to 8, souls were brought into harmony with God, broken chords were restored, and hearts were brought InTUNE with the Holy Spirit.