By Carl Stagner
The 50th International Youth Convention is finally upon us. From across the country, Canada, and several countries beyond, students and their leaders are making their way to the Lone Star State if they’ve not already arrived. If you’ve ever made the trek to IYC by car, train, bus, or plane, you know firsthand that the adventure—and often life-changing experiences—begin way before you ever get to your destination. Whether it’s learning patience while waiting for roadside assistance to repair the same corroded bus your parents took to IYC, or engaging in deep discussion with an ordinarily shy student, life change has certainly already begun.
Over the next four days in San Antonio, Texas, students will worship together under the leadership of The Digital Age, Alanna Story, and Rend Collective. They’ll hear dynamic speakers, including Brenda Salter McNeil, Jefferson Bethke, Robert Madu, Sean McDowell, and Jim Lyon. They’ll not only laugh at the clean humor of the Skit Guys; they’ll also be challenged by the wisdom behind their wit. Community outreach projects during Impact San Antonio will give them the opportunity to give back to their host city, and multiple conferences will give them the practical insights and tools they need to grow as Christ-centered disciples.
The convention theme this year draws from Ephesians 4, communicating that there is ONE God, ONE Truth, ONE Body, and ONE Mission. Students will strengthen their relationship with the ONE God, deepen their understanding of the ONE Truth, unite as ONE Body, and carry out ONE Mission. Many will no doubt recommit their lives to Christ, while others will discover his grace for the first time. Please lift up the students, their leaders, featured guests, and convention staff as God orchestrates moments of life change.
Leading up to IYC2016, Andy Stephenson reflected on the fourteen years he’s been at the helm. “Since my first IYC in 2002, it’s been about seeing, and hearing the stories of, life-change moments,” Andy said. “These moments have radically changed the course of students’ lives. Now it’s really fun because I’ve been in it so long that you see that the ones who were students fourteen years ago are now grown. A lot of them are doing ministry and are back with their students. I believe that God speaks in moments like these—IYC is an incredible spiritual marker in their lives.”
What an incredible history is ours as the Church of God in the International Youth Convention! At IYC2016, incredible history is still in the making. Follow IYC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates.
To view an online timeline of the last forty-nine International Youth Conventions, visit http://iyc2016.org/iyc50/. Click here for a look back at IYC history highlights.