Young leaders emerge at YouthQuest
Between the days of December 27–30, 2006, BIC youth and their leaders—957 of them, to be exact—met in Niagara Falls to worship, learn, and play together.
“This was the best event I was ever privileged to be part of,” reflects Dan Houck, assistant coordinator, who has been involved with YouthQuest in various capacities since 1987. “There was a real sense of God’s movement and presence there. And I’m convinced that decades from now there will be people who will point to that 2006 event as the turning point in their walk with Christ.”
And that’s not hard to imagine, if the response to evangelist Reggie Dabbs’ nightly invitations is any indication.
During the second evening session, an estimated 150 students went forward to accept Christ, and the next evening 75 teens stood to ask for prayer regarding destructive habits and addictions. At the final session, 50 or so students committed their lives to full-time service.
The Brethren in Christ Church knows that it’s teens like that—young people with the humility and courage to devote their lives to God—who will lead the church into the future. And that’s why, since 1978, the BIC Church has counted on YouthQuest as a time to inspire, disciple, and call out new leaders.
“After every session you could see youth workers spread out all over the Sheraton Hotel—sitting with groups, praying with teens and counseling them,” Houck remembers. “It was phenomenal to see the movement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of kids.”
But God wasn’t just working in students and their youth leaders. A concierge at the hotel was so impacted by the witness of YouthQuest attendees and the speakers’ powerful messages that, by the end of the event, he had made a commitment to follow Christ.
Along with inspired preachers, powerful worship times, and a wild evening at an outdoor waterpark, YouthQuest offered ample opportunities for individual worship and personal growth, including nine different seminars, silent meditation at a nearby monastery, and late night “chat room” discussions with denominational leaders on BIC core values.
It may seem strange to think of bishops hanging out at a teen event, but as YouthQuest coordinator Mike Wright explains, it’s one of the most important aspects of the event: “More than ever, we are trying to craft YouthQuest as something that exposes students to our leaders.”
This year, youth groups came from seven regional conferences and 63 different churches to worship and grow together. And for the first time in its history, YouthQuest was attended by a group from the BIC churches in South Florida.
As the planning team looks ahead to YouthQuest 2008, to be held in Washington, D.C., they know it will be hard to top the 2006 conference. But then, that’s not the goal.
“Bottom line,” says Wright, “we want students listening to God and doing what He tells them.”