By Carl Stagner
Two of our partners in ministry celebrate vibrant youth ministry outside of involvement in the International Youth Convention, including the National Association’s NIYC (National Inspirational Youth Convention) and the student ministries of the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano). For many youth in the Church of God, IYC is not the pinnacle of their year; NIYC or the youth events of the Hispanic Council take that description. It is with great anticipation then, that in 2017, students of IYC, NIYC, and the Hispanic Council will come together for a groundbreaking unity event. ONE will gather youth across ethnic and cultural lines together under the banner of Christ to worship and serve together. When unity becomes more than just talk, incredible things begin to happen.
Andy Stephenson, IYC director anticipates a “great testimony to the church and to the world of what God can do when we unite together as ONE.” To be a part of this great testimony, students are invited to Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 21–22, 2017. ONE: United Together is expected to commence at 8:00 PM on Friday and conclude at about 4:00 PM on Saturday. Open to high school and middle school students, there will be worship, discussion, learning together, and opportunities to serve side-by-side. Best of all, the experience is affordable—student registration for just $20 also includes lunch.
“Church of God students from across the country will be able to see that the Church of God is broad, wide, and diverse,” Kevin Earley explains. Kevin, who pastors Metropolitan Church of God in Detroit, Michigan, also provides leadership to NIYC. He continues, “As a movement, we are much more than our individual congregations, camp meetings, and neighborhoods. I have been able to catch a glimpse of this by attending several Church of God Ministries- and National Association-organized events.”
Ramon Rivera of the Hispanic Council, and pastor of Ministerio de Adoración y Restauración in Pembroke Pines, Florida, is also looking forward to this historic gathering. “It will be an amazing experience, at the same place, same time,” he reflects. “It will be so great to continue building relationships. No matter what language we speak or what race we are, we can meet in one place for one purpose in the Spirit.”
There is so much to do in the fight for reconciliation. Though this event won’t fix all of the problems we face, Kevin understands that it can serve as a first step. “Relationships and conversations can be birthed that can lay the groundwork for a longer journey towards unity and reconciliation. I believe this event can show Church of God constituents and a dying world that the power and lordship of Christ can break every barrier that sin and sinful systems have set up.”
Ramon agrees. “This event is the first step,” he explains. “I pray that with this event the church continues to build a bridge in ministry partnership to accomplish together the Great Commission to make disciples.”
For online registration, visit www.chogy.org.