June 20 and 21, 2018, marked another historic event for youth ministry in the Church of God. The ONE Event was designed to celebrate unity among students, and was sponsored by a leadership team that included representation from the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano), IYC, and NIYC.
This ONE Event was hosted in conjunction with the Regional Convention at First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, the home of Bishop Timothy Clarke. Nine churches from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and West Virginia were present at this conference. These churches provided a wonderful racial mix of students: 51-percent African American, 43-percent Caucasian, 4-percent Hispanic, and 2-percent “other.” Students started their evening by participating in the final service of the Regional event, where Harvey Carey issued a challenge to be salt and light. His message that, “You can’t move if you’re contained in a salt shaker” was an appropriate challenge to those about to be stretched by the ONE experience.
After the service, students moved to the youth facility for games, food, fellowship, and other activities. It definitely had a “youth ministry” atmosphere, with students enjoying open gym, group games, and a trip to a local skating rink. The night was a wonderful way to jump into new relationships with each other, be authentic and vulnerable, and get to know each other’s perspectives better.
One important aspect of the event was the intentional placement of students in ethnically diverse discussion groups. Their first gathering was held so the students could get to know one another better. Then, during a second activity, students studied key documents written by influential leaders in the Movement, each related to racial reconciliation. They were given various scenarios and then discussed ways that we can work to bring unity in the church and in the world.
Pastor George Fultz and his team at First Church were gracious hosts and provided on-site lodging for many attendees. The second day of ONE included a bilingual worship service, and guest speaker Eliseo Guillen reminded listeners that Jesus sees the person, not just the problem. The final worship experience featured musicians from the host church. Speaker Monte’ Dillard encouraged students to “stay alive” and recognize that there is hope in Jesus Christ. Students ended the event on an inspiring note, joining hands in a closing prayer, affirming their faith in ONE God and ONE church.
Learn more about Church of God Youth Ministries at www.chogyouth.org. Article originally published in the July 2018 issue of the Move! newsletter. For more articles, visit www.jesusisthesubject.org/blog.