Tag Archives: IYC

Youth Pastors, Regions Unite to Prepare Students for Christ-Centered Leadership

Students worshiping the Lord at 3SLI.

By Carl Stagner

IYC and state youth conventions do a tremendous job inspiring students to come to Christ, to rededicate their lives to the Lord, and to accept the unique call God has placed on their lives. Most of the students leave these mountain-top experiences having experienced life change to one degree or another, but some also leave recognizing God has called them to lead. Just after the turn of the new century, several youth pastors from the Midwest came together to identify the best way to prepare such students for lifelong Christ-centered leadership. In 2003, 3SLI (then the Tri-State Student Leadership Institute, now Tri-Level) was launched to serve students in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. When West Virginia was added, the name 3SLI didn’t change—and neither did its resolve to come alongside emerging leaders. Continue reading

Students Exemplify Unity Amid Diversity at ONE Event

ONE Event 2018 scenes (credit: Handel Smith).

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. Continue reading

IYC2018 Puts Students On Track for Life

Zealand leading students in worship at IYC2018.

By Carl Stagner

For the first time since 1980, Indianapolis, Indiana, was home to the International Youth Convention of the Church of God. Reflecting the local racing culture, the 51st pinnacle of youth ministry experiences capitalized on its proximity to the iconic motor speedway, with four days designed to put students on track for the race of a lifetime. Inspiring worship, top-notch speakers, dozens of breakout sessions, a 5K to support the fight against trafficking, and a day devoted to community service combined to create moments of lasting life change. Those moments may have passed, but eternity—brighter than ever before—lies ahead. The life change continues as four thousand students and youth leaders, who embraced life at IYC2018, return home to give life to their families, schools, churches, and across their communities. Continue reading

IYC2018 On Track to Change Countless Lives for Christ

Zealand leading worship at IYC2018 (courtesy Justin McKinley).

By Carl Stagner

It was the moment everyone was waiting for. The car washes, rummage sales, bake sales, and numerous other fundraisers led up to this single point in time. Students were giddy with excitement as adult leaders breathed a sigh of relief: “We’ve made it—finally!” As the doors were opened into the main hall at the Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, students from across the country and around the world took their seats only briefly before rising to their feet in enthusiastic participation. High-octane worship, engaging emcees, captivating exchanges, and an in-your-face speaker put IYC2018 on track to change countless lives for Christ. And so, it quickly became clear that this wasn’t the culmination of two years of preparation—this was only the beginning of what God has in store. Continue reading

Harvey Carey: Snapshots of an Inner-City Pastor, Church Planter

Harvey Carey’s heart is for all ages in the city.

By Carl Stagner

Jesus is the subject for Harvey Carey. The urban pastor and church planter—also an avid amateur photographer—isn’t affiliated directly with the Church of God, but he’s a familiar face to many in the Movement. The former IYC speaker was invited to speak again to the Church of God, this time at the Regional Convention in Columbus, Ohio (June 19–20). His firsthand experience shining the light of Christ in the inner-city not only informs, but inspires listeners young and old, from downtown to down yonder. This product of the inner-city, turned proponent of the inner-city, challenges Christians to give life to their community—population three, or population three million. Continue reading

IYC Intern Engages in Sports Ministry, Captures Media Attention Abroad

Mark Shaner (left) with Austin Shaner (right) in India.

By Carl Stagner

Meet Austin Shaner. The December 2017 Warner University graduate and IYC2018 intern has his sights set on Christ and his heart tuned to students at home and abroad. An interdisciplinary ministry concentration on sports ministry from Warner left Austin with a deeper desire to spread the hope of Christ through relatable methods like recreation, but that’s not what recently captured the attention of the international media. With his father Mark Shaner, Austin traveled to Bangladesh and India this spring for a few scheduled—and a few unscheduled—ministry engagements. While in India, certain circumstances put him unexpectedly on the front page of the newspaper. Continue reading

Building Up to IYC2018: Indiana Church Breathes Life into Students, Community

Renovation at the new NSpire Church location.

By Carl Stagner

The Latin word spīrāre inspired the name of the Church of God in Westfield, Indiana, now known as NSpire Church. In the Hebrew and Greek, its meaning is understood as having to do with breath, life, wind, and the Spirit. Building up to IYC2018 (July 2–5), the church is preparing to work with IYC students by hosting an Indianapolis-area Impact Day project. As the church transitions out of a season of building and expanding, their partnership with the International Youth Convention is but an extension of who they already are. Leading into a new season of outreach, NSpire Church is breathing life into their community and will soon breathe life into the lives of teenagers attending IYC. Continue reading

God is On the Move in Egypt

Jim Lyon speaks to leaders in Egypt.

By Ken Oldham

The birth of the Protestant Reformation is attributed to Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church (Germany) on October 31, 1517. All across the region, this 500th anniversary has been remembered, and the evangelical churches in Egypt began planning months ago to have a special event of their own, encouraging each church group to seek international guests to join the celebration. The Church of God in Egypt was delighted to have Global Strategy regional coordinator Patrick Nachtigall, U.S.-Canada general director Jim Lyon, and Pastor Marcus Archer of Crosspoint Church (Natchez, Mississippi) accept their invitation to join the celebration, November 17–19, in Cairo. Continue reading

Convention 2018 Speaker: Light to Hollywood, Living Water to the Desert

Jeff Whye

By Carl Stagner

All the glitter, glamor, and glitz of Hollywood can’t be outshined by the light of Christ reflecting through one of his own. Jeff Whye, known across the Church of God for his high-octane personality and knack for making people laugh, rocked Hollywood for a season but never lost his footing on the solid Rock. When God called him to the dry soil of the Southwest, his ambition was to point people to the source of Living Water. At Anderson University and Long Reach Church of God in Columbia, Maryland, before that, Jeff was molded and made into the man of God he is today. Overflowing with a love for reconciliation and restoration of relationships—between people and to the Lord—Jeff Whye looks forward to the opportunity to speak to the Church of God at the five Regional Conventions in 2018. Continue reading

IYC High School Band Goes ‘On Tour’

Photo: Liberation sporting their IYC2016 T-shirts.

By Carl Stagner

Just a few weeks remained until the big event. Though it was the first time these seven high school students had met, the responsibility to lead worship for thousands of teenagers in San Antonio, Texas, was on their shoulders. Whether they liked it or not, they had to learn to work together quickly. But almost immediately, it was clear that these once-strangers would become forever friends. After fulfilling their second and final obligation this July—leading worship for Leadership Summit in Anderson—they knew it wasn’t the end. God was calling the IYC2016 High School Band to keep it going, under a new name. Liberation has created quite the spiritual stir, exemplifying the rise of young leadership in the Church of God, and catching the attention of churches and state youth conventions across the country. Continue reading

ONE Gives Students Glimpse of Heaven, Desire to Change the World Together

By Carl Stagner

Some had likely never worshiped in Spanish before. Others had probably never experienced firsthand the high-octane energy of urban gospel. History suggests that few had likely ever been in a setting where three cultures converged in the name of Christ. But that’s exactly what happened at the first-ever ONE event, which took place at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 21 and 22. The result was a glimpse of heaven and a renewed desire to change the world together. Continue reading

Youth to Participate in Historic Unity Event this April

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By Carl Stagner

It’s at the core of who we are. We preach about it. We sing about it. We read books about it by pioneers of our movement. But we don’t have a flawless record of living it out. The perfect love which unites us all in Jesus must translate to how we function as individual churches and as a movement. A new generation is rising up in the Church of God less connected to “the way we’ve always done it.” They are challenging the status quo; they are daring to do things differently. They’re setting the example for the rest of us as they come together in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 21–22 to worship under one roof. No, it’s not the International Youth Convention. No, it’s not NIYC. And no, it’s also not a youth convention of the Concilio Hispano. It’s ONE gathering, hosted by all three groups, that your church’s youth group won’t want to miss. Continue reading

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

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