Messages from Young Adults

GYC 2011: Day 1

Straight to the point. That’s how it was. For months we’ve been anticipating the landing of Generation of Youth for Christ here in Houston, TX. And then, unashamedly it showed up. GYC is here and while it’s been a couple years since I’ve attended the conference, it still is what it is – a movement of youth upholding the distinctive message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

As I jumped on the escalators at the George R. Brown Convention Center everyone was heading down to the main auditorium. I couldn’t help but notice the crowd seemed much younger than I remembered, but perhaps this was just me settling in to my late twenties. Anticipating just under 5K attendees this year, the place was buzzing with friends reuniting.

While the faces may have changed, entering the worship service brought back that familiar pungent GYC spirit. We made it through the preliminaries and were briefed on what to expect over the course of the next few days. Lots of prayer, time for small groups, evangelism, and even a personal devotion time slated in the schedule. Mark Finley’s 92-page “10 Days in the Upper Room” devotional workbook was distributed at registration along with your name badge and program guide. It was time to get down to intense study and revival… Ready.

Set. Go. Justin McNeilus led us straight to Truth with a message focusing on our theme for the week, Fill Me: Our Earnest Plea. We started in Acts 1 and identified the effect – the gospel going to the world, and rewound to understand one cause – Jesus being at the center as our foundation.

Justin, the banker juggled the numbers and broke down any doubt about the ability to take the message to the 7 billion people occupying planet Earth. With 120 people in the upper room challenged to take on 180 million people in the world at that time, we can’t get overwhelmed by the current stats. The ratio landed somewhere around 823 souls to be reached by every 1 SDA individual. “It’s easy,” Justin said.

But the message went on and we zoomed in on Acts 1 verse 4.

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (KJV)

After instructing the disciples to take the message to the world, Jesus then commanded them not to leave Jerusalem. The process outlined like this: Jerusalem > Judea > Samaria > World.  Likewise, we  have to take care of business at our home churches, and reach our neighbors before worrying about what we’re going to do about our neighboring countries. The process outlined like this: World < Country < State < City < Local Church < Y o u.  First we have to be reached in order to reach.

Justin put it plain and simple, “You have no business making plans to reach the world when your prayer meeting in your own church is suffering.” We must wait, as the verse says (something we Millennials don’t like to do). The call is that we must bring about revival in our home churches.

Following the message we had some time for prayer (real, honest, scripture-focused prayer). Reading Joel 2:15-17 we prayed that God would help us take this solemn event seriously, that He might cleanse us of our sins, and rid us of those things hindering our ministry. Kneeling on the concrete floor, praying our hearts out to God in silent earnest unison as Peter did many years ago:  F I L L  M E.

So that’s what we’re here for. The journey has just begun.

Join us online with live broadcasts of the main sessions on 3ABN and follow the blog each day for a brief update!

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  • Bill Cork said:

    I watched this on 3ABN and felt a real disconnect. He emphasized the importance of starting with the local church, and making a real difference. But the GYC organizers made no effort to reach out to the local churches here, not even to ask our recommendations about an outreach project that would really benefit the community and make a difference. And I started trying to contact them back in March. These conferences could make a difference if they followed the advice Justin gave. They need to first, ask the local conference to invite them, then (and only then) secure the location, involve local conference and local members on the planning committee, ask the local churches how they could benefit from having an outreach force of several thousand young people, and offer workshops and seminars on practical issues of how to make a difference on campus, in your community, in your local church.

  • Janice A. Becca (Author) said:

    In fact, I was on a bus to Alvin, TX today as a result of a local young adult making contact with GYC organizers to aid in a current ministry. We distributed fliers in this area promoting evangelistic meetings for the first English-speaking SDA Church in Alvin.

    GYC does make a difference. I’m not so sure doing the Lord’s work requires permission from any man-made entity.

  • Bill cork said:

    The church is not a man made entity. GYC will be more of a force for division as long as it does it’s own thing apart from the church,

  • Lionel said:

    Pastor Cork, first off, how have you been? I haven’t seen or spoken to you since seeing you in College Station. As far as your concerns, I think GYC does a tremendous job of offering seminars and workshops that really hit on all of those issues. Of course, everything can be improved and no conference can solve and answer every question. Now, I know you might disagree with me, but I believe the spirit GYC infused this year was far from a spirit of disconnect. In fact, I would dare to say it was the exact opposite. All conference long the ministers, speakers and organizers spoke vehemently about us being very, very active in our local churches. To me that is more important than coordinating one huge outreach event in connection with the local conference. Instead, the local conference now has highly motivated, young individuals who are ready and willing to go back to their local Houston area churches and get to work. Why? Because GYC showed them that we have to start there. They even spoke about the divisions in the church that I haven’t heard any other Adventist body bring up, most notably, the current black and white conferences. We can not overlook that can we? Again, of course no conference is perfect, but you have to at least be happy about them sending back people ready to be put to work right?


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