Category Archives: IYC: International Youth Convention

IYC Students Underwrite Christian Camp Costs for Muslim Refugees

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Photo: Refugee teen having a blast at camp.

By Carl Stagner

“You accepted us like family. Here we weren’t the foreigners—the refugees. We were part of the group. Thank you.” When the Church of God is willing to work together to advance the kingdom, people notice. Lives are touched. Hearts are softened. Seeds are planted. History tells us many of these seeds not only germinate, but bear fruit and spread more seeds. This summer, moved by the refugee crisis in our world today, Church of God leaders in Germany committed to invest in six refugees from Afghanistan. Each one separated from family and friends after fleeing dangerous living conditions, these refugee youth with a background in Islam would not only hear the gospel, but feel sincere love and grace from peers who humbly bear the name of Christ. IYC students helped make it all possible. Continue reading

IYC, NIYC and Concilio Hispano Youth to Hold Unity Event in 2017

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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. Continue reading

Choose Church of God: College, Universities Band Together

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By Carl Stagner

Free time or another conference? If you were one of the approximately 725 students who acknowledged a call to ministry while in San Antonio for IYC2016, you chose the latter early in the afternoon on Monday. But it wasn’t just another conference. It was the huddle of a new team of emerging leaders ready to take on the world with the message of the gospel. Students were applauded for accepting their call to ministry, prayed for, and given practical tools and tips to get started on the path to Christ-centered leadership. One of the most powerful resources we have to equip and train such leaders is Church of God higher education. Long before thousands of students descended on San Antonio, Texas, for the fiftieth International Youth Convention, Anderson University, Mid-America Christian University, Warner Pacific College, and Warner University took practical steps to unite their efforts for the sake of leadership development. Continue reading

Thank You, IYC, for Your Impact On Us

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Photo: IYC volunteers give CPS visitation rooms a makeover.

By Mary Walker

Editor’s note—Every IYC affords students the opportunity to give back to their host city through acts of community service. You never know what kind of impact they’ll leave behind. The following is the story of one local agency blessed by youth groups attending IYC2016 in San Antonio, Texas.

Maybe you’ve heard people say they’ve had a “life-changing moment.” It could be something big or small, but whatever happened, they knew nothing would be the same again, or they discovered or became something new. Some people could really use a moment like that, to make their lives just a little bit better—and sometimes you can’t wait for it to come along. Instead, you need to take action to make it happen. Continue reading

IYC2016: A Generation Rising

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Photo: Worship with thousands of students at IYC2016.

By Carl Stagner

Words fail to adequately describe the total impact of the fiftieth International Youth Convention of the Church of God on students and leaders alike. Four consecutive days at the beginning of July 2016 proved to be transformational for untold numbers gathered in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio, Texas. Reports have already surfaced of first-time commitments to Christ, rededications, renewed hope, and calls to ministry. Though the previous forty-nine conventions were powerful and life-changing, even veteran leaders are citing something uniquely incredible about the move of the Holy Spirit at IYC2016. From the high-intensity worship, to the no-holds-barred messages of truth and grace, to the citywide service projects and the Silent Walk, IYC2016 offered the perfect conditions for life-changing encounters with the living God. Continue reading

Thousands of Students Descend on San Antonio for IYC2016

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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. Continue reading

Former IYC Students Now Lead Students, Congregations

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Photo: Hands lifted at IYC2014.

By Sam Rainey

Thousands of teens and leaders gather together every two years for what could be the moment of a lifetime. For four days, the International Youth Convention allows teens to experience everything from outreach projects to live concerts to powerful speakers and worship. It could be simple to see IYC as just another Christian convention. But it is so much more than that. IYC is a vessel full of stories, an event that holds in its history of forty-nine previous conventions thousands of testimonies and life-changing moments, every single one of them of unending value and continuing reach. Continue reading

Deadline Approaches as Students, Leaders Prepare for IYC2016

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Photo: Thousands of students worship God at IYC.

By Sam Rainey, Levi Scott, and Carl Stagner

San Antonio, Texas. July 2016. Thousands of high school and middle school students have taken to the streets, sidewalks, and hallways in silent prayer. From across the United States and around the world, they’ve come together at a massive convention center to grow as Christ-centered disciples. Then, an overwhelming energy floods the room as teenagers and adults alike lift up the name of Jesus Christ. They’ve been challenged and encouraged by Brenda Salter McNeil, Jefferson Bethke, Robert Madu, Sean McDowell, and Jim Lyon. They’ve laughed at the banter of the ever-popular Skit Guys. They’ve experienced high-intensity worship with Alanna Story, Rend Collective, The Digital Age, and the IYC High School Band. Many recommitted their lives to Christ, while others found him for the first time. All left San Antonio changed. Continue reading

The 50th International Youth Convention: History to Repeat Itself

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Photo: IYC1948 in Charleston, West Virginia.

By Levi Scott

On June 20, 1924, what we now call the International Youth Convention of the Church of God was just beginning to take shape. For the first time in the history of the Church of God, there was an entire day of Anderson Camp Meeting devoted to young people. Back then it was called the Convention Youth Day. Influential leaders of the time, such as J. A. Morrison, Frances Tallen, and others spoke to both youth and other church congregants about the challenges that youth faced in their context. These speakers encouraged, warned, and ministered to many young people that day, but they were likely unaware of the plans that God began to put into action at that time. Shortly thereafter, Convention Youth Days became an annual occurrence. A look back over the past fifty IYCs reveals an experience that has shaped not only the life of young people who attended these services, but the Church of God itself. Continue reading

Convention Artists Equip Church of God with New Worship Resource

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By Carl Stagner

These young women and men are not in it for the entertainment. If they were, you might see them come and go, offering little more than a performance. But these featured worship leaders for the Regional Conventions and IYC2016 are going way beyond providing convention-goers with a temporary worship experience. Alanna Story, products of the Church of God themselves, have set out to resource the Church of God with practical tools for the local church. Continue reading

IYC2016: The 50th International Youth Convention

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By Carl Stagner

The Super Bowl won’t be the only event celebrating number fifty in 2016. The Church of God is excited to announce its fiftieth International Youth Convention, July 2–5 in San Antonio, Texas. IYC first came about in the early 1920s and has taken different forms, locations, and frequencies. Anticipating an extraordinary move of the Holy Spirit at the next IYC, churches are taking advantage of early-bird savings on registration, available through March 24. Continue reading

Leadership Summit 2015 Launches Leaders of Today and Tomorrow

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By R.W. Moody and Carl Stagner

Remain Connected to the Vine

Have you ever taken a walk through a vineyard? There are a few things you will notice if you do. First, the vine. It spreads out in many directions as it meanders its way across the field. It is the source for everything that grows out from it. Second, the branches. These branches carry all of the nutrients that the vine gives. Third, there is the fruit. This is the product of the vine. All of the resources that the vine pushes through the branches shows itself in the fruit. The health of the fruit depends on the connection of the branch to the vine. The vine is the source of life.

In John 15, Jesus compared himself to the vine. He is the source of life. We are the branches. Our connection to the vine is critical if we are to bear fruit. As Christ-followers, if we want to grow, we must remain in him. This is the lesson that more than two hundred student and adult leaders learned at this year’s Leadership Summit. Continue reading

Jamaica Church of God Hosts First National Youth Convention

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Photo: Spread the Word team with Jamaican students who are sporting their STW shirts.

By Tami Byrd

At the end of September, the Church of God in Jamaica held their first-ever national youth convention. Members of the Youth Ministry and Youth Network Teams of the Church of God participated in the leadership of the historic event. Continue reading

IYC2014 Brings Lives InTUNE with Holy Spirit

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Photo: IYC2014 worship was full of energy and heart. Photo by Howard Megill.

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. Continue reading

Church of God Students Gear Up for Community Service at IYC2014

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On July 5, nearly five-thousand high school students and their youth leaders from all over North America—with representatives from Italy, Bangladesh, Australia, and Jordan—will gather in Nashville, Tennessee, for the 49th biennial International Youth Convention (IYC) of the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana). On the afternoon of Monday, July 7, these students will give back to the city of Nashville by serving the community in hopes of making a difference. Continue reading