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  Fall 2012
  Vol. 17 • No. 3
Please photocopy for  
all your youth workers  

  IYC = Life Change  

As I reflect back on our week in Denver, I am humbled at what God did and the life change he brought about in most all of us who were a part of this life-changing moment at IYC2012. I know there are other conferences and other places where God works, but he consistently shows up at IYC.

As many of you know, part of this is because of the amount of prayer that goes into this event—the hundreds who pray using the prayer guide for weeks before we get to the convention; the hundreds who pray for all the names of those who preregister; the four volunteer staff we have on site whose main responsibility is to pray over the convention; the local prayer partners and the nearly fifteen hundred students and leaders who walk the convention area the morning before IYC kicks off and pray for God’s work. Do you think there could be a correlation between prayer and God’s Spirit moving? That is one of our core values: we believe prayer unleashes God’s power.

The effort to get students to IYC can be monumental, but the life change that happens, the connection to something bigger than your local and state ministry, and the chance to do something big together, are worth the effort. If I didn’t believe it, we would cancel it. Yes, you can find conferences closer, and yes, you can find some with lower travel costs, but the stories we hear about changes that affect lives for generations and the community that happens at IYC are worth it.

As I said at IYC, the convention is just a launching pad: four days to get you ready to leave the place understanding what it really means to LIVE 8 (Romans 8)… when you go back to your communities.

If you missed IYC2012, don’t miss IYC2014. You can preregister now at IYC2004 prices at www.iyc2012.org. Also, you can get a free download of the thirty-day devotional from IYC focused on Romans 8—Living Free, Awakened, Empowered, and Connected.

God is at work as we work together to raise up a new generation of Christ-centered leaders,


Andy StephensonAndy Stephenson
Leader of Youth and Family Ministries
Andy can be reached at


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  Is God Calling You to Do More?  

Emerging Leaders is a community sharing the journey to discover the call to Christ-centered leadership. This year, at IYC2012, the Emerging Leaders Gathering was a huge success! How exciting it was to see more than six hundred emerging leaders pour into the gathering; they were met with applause and celebration by more than one hundred twenty adult leader coaches who have been trained to continue the journey with these students.

We believe that God is preparing students to do great things for him and his kingdom! God is calling students to vocational ministry, missions, and leadership, as well as to parachurch organizations. It is a very exciting time! Students are being called to do more and are answering the call.

Emerging Leaders is about the journey and some great resources, events, and opportunities, such as Leadership Summit, STW internships, and Intern Academy. On the website www.emergingleaders101.com, the hub of all things for emerging leaders, you will find information on opportunities, monthly leadership training, videos, and a brand-new resource called the ELP—the Emerging Leader Package. The ELP is an Emerging Leader Gathering in a box, with everything needed to have your own Emerging Leader gathering at your local or state event! It’s a free downloadable resource! Don’t miss it!

This is an incredible time in the lives of emerging leaders! Be excited! Be empowered!

For more information about Emerging Leaders and Leadership Summit, or to download the ELP, visit www.emergingleaders101.com.

 Eric ReederEric Reeder is a member of the Youth Ministry Team. He serves as the senior-high youth pastor at Madison Park Church of God in Anderson, Indiana since 2009. He can be reached at ereeder@madisonparkchurch.org.

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  IYC Leaders Win Olympic Gold!  

It’s truly incredible to ponder the adult leaders around the country who sacrifice so much to take students across the country to be a part of IYC! IYC is what it is because of them, and without them IYC wouldn’t exist and life change wouldn’t happen.

One of the convention favorites at each IYC is the time adult leaders get to spend with other adult leaders at the Youth Ministry Institute (YMI), where they receive encouragement and training and also take time to celebrate. This year’s theme for YMI was “Live for the Prize,” and the message was that the race we run for the cause of Christ and for teenagers will be well worth it when we receive our prize of eternity.

Our time together began with our own “Olympic Village” and “Olympic Events” fit only for student ministry leaders. From the Crab Walk Relay to the minute-to-win-it challenges to the medal ceremony pictures, leaders got in the Olympic spirit. Later, we worshiped with the incredible IYC High School Band, enjoyed the Skit Guys, received a baton vision handoff from Andy, honored two incredible volunteer youth leaders, and heard an inspiring message from Steve Fitzhugh.

To all the adult youth workers around the country, you are gold medal winners! Thanks for all you do!

Chip TaylorChip Taylor is a Youth Ministry Team member and the youth pastor at Bayside Community Church in Safety Harbor, Florida. He can be reached at Chip@baysidechurch.net.

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At the International Youth Convention in Denver, more than $44,000 in general offerings were given to Spread the Word to provide tools for evangelism around the world. This was an anniversary of sorts, since STW was launched at IYC in Denver ten years ago. During this decade of giving, STW has reached thirty-two countries and six continents around the globe. Church of God students are making a difference!

In addition to the offerings, students were encouraged to visit an exhibit booth featuring The Russia Project, where they could contribute funds specifically for the completion of a youth café in Chelyabinsk. Two Russian delegates, Tanya Vassilevykh and Anya Barannikova, were present at the convention and shared about the impact that this youth café will have on the students in their community. Approximately $11,000 was given toward this project, bringing the convention total to $55,000 for Spread the Word.

Convention attendees were challenged to make STW a part of their ministries at home and not just something they support at IYC. For more information about how you can give, visit www.chogy.org and click on Spread the Word.

Tami ByrdTami Byrd is a member of the Youth Ministry Team and the youth pastor at South Memorial Drive Church of God in New Castle, Indiana. She can be reached at tami@smdcog.org. She helps facilitate communication with STW and those on the field.

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  IYC High School Band  

If you had the opportunity to be led in worship by the IYC High School Band, then you experienced an incredible finale to a miraculous journey. It began a year ago when high school musicians from Church of God congregations all across the country sent in their auditions. While they waited and wondered, others prayerfully listened to every CD and DVD. A month later seven students were chosen. A band was formed, but they were far from really being a band. There was much work to be done; the journey had just begun.

The first step: getting to know each other. Through social media, these strangers started to get acquainted, sharing some history, music preferences, favorite worship songs, and other information. Songs were agreed on, sheet music sent out, and practicing began. Long before this band ever saw one another face-to-face, they were practicing.

The talent was clearly there, as was the heart for God. But would these seven high school students come together and gel as a band? We would soon find out, or would we? Our rehearsal weekend was rudely interrupted by a January blizzard, so all our well-laid plans were scrapped. The next available weekend for everyone would not come until mid-April. So with NAC and IYC just two months away, the band finally met.

The weekend seemed magical. Friendships formed so quickly as deep sharing occurred throughout the weekend. Incredible times of prayer and worship created a beautiful bond. And the music, wow! We were all aware that something special was happening. How can a group of musicians come together in one weekend and feel like they’ve been a band for years? God was doing something amazing!

What a joy to see so many students touched by the worship ministry of these seven students, first at NAC and then at IYC. God certainly is raising up a new generation of worship leaders with hearts for God! Soon we will begin all over again, bringing together a new band for IYC 2014 in Nashville. If you know of a high school student with great talent and a heart for God, encourage them to audition. An application is available online here.

PS: If you are interested in having the IYC2012 band lead worship at your state youth convention or retreat, let me know!

Chris SpittersChris Spitters is a Youth Ministry Team member and the youth pastor at First Church of God in St. Joseph Michigan. He can be reached at spitters@myfirstchurch.com.

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  Live in the Light  

Life-change. It is what we pray happens for each of our students. We want our students to experience an empowered life that is surrendered to Christ. Few moments in ministry are as sweet as seeing a student who really “gets it” and starts to live it. This is Brittany’s story.

Brittany grew up attending church with her family and attending a Christian elementary school. Some years, she even won special awards for “Most Bible Verses Memorized” and “Most Likely to Be an Apostle” (or something close to that).

But when Brittany entered junior high, she entered into a year of depression, frustration, and loneliness. She had no friends at school, her family stopped going to church together, and her faith started to fade. Though she never attempted it, Brittany, the Bible-verse-memorizing future-apostle, started to have thoughts of suicide.

Little did Brittany know that this year of darkness at the beginning of junior high would become a powerful part of her testimony and her future calling to ministry. It was three years later, at IYC 2010 in Orlando, that the pieces started falling into place.

During one of the services, God revealed to Brittany the memories from her year of darkness that she had tried so hard to forget. But God had a plan. He told her that the difficult year she had survived was a part of her testimony and that he had a specific call for her life.

Brittany went back to high school not knowing what this call was, but knowing that God had something special for her. The following summer, Brittany attended Leadership Summit. It was there that she felt a clear calling from God to work with suicidal youth. The exact words she felt the Lord speak to her were, “Because you were one. You are not now.”

God had walked with Brittany through a year of darkness to lead her on a journey that will be spent walking in the Light.

God is in the business of life change work! Thank God that we get to be a part of his kingdom work. Who knows who the Brittanys are in your ministry? Keep praying and pushing toward the prize that God has called us to.

Mark ShanerAdam Rentas is a Youth Ministry Team member and the youth pastor at First Church of God in Vero Beach, Florida. He can be reached at pastoradam12@hotmail.com.

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IYC = Life Change
Important Dates & Events
Featured Resource:
  Smooth Hand Offs

IYC Leaders Win Olympic Gold
Spread the Word at IYC
U.S. and STW International
Leadership Summit
IYC High School Band
Thank You to Chip
Introducing Adam
Live in the Light
IYC: Life-Change Stories
  from Denver


June 22–25, 2013
Global Gathering of
the Church of God
Anderson, IN


Logo: IYC2012                

July 5–8, 2014
Gaylord Opryland Hotel
Nashville, TN


   YMT Members
Tami Byrd Eric Reeder Chris Spitters Andy Stephenson Adam Rentas







Youth Network Team

   Youth Network Team

            Austin Abney (FL)
            Harold Bradshaw (WY)
            Ryan Chaisson (AZ)
            Kyle Cooper (VA)
            Josh Deeter (AL)
            Mike Fackler (OK)

      R. W. Moody (TX)X)
      Adam Rentas (CA)
      Rob Ringwald (WV)
      Kim Schuessler (IN)
      Mark Shaner (IN)
      Michael Thigpen (IN)




Pay 2004 prices
for IYC2014—$95.
Yep, you saw it.
The first five hundred who register for IYC2014
by March 1, 2013, get that price. Don't miss IYC2014. Register at www.iyc2012.org.

Creating a moment
for life change


July 5–8, 2014
Nashville, Tennessee

    Click here to get the IYC mobile app


Featured Resource:
Smooth Hand Offs

Cover Image: Smooth Hand Offs

Endorsed by Chris Tomlin and the Skit Guys, Smooth Hand Offs is a “must read” for every Christian who wants to make a difference in our world. Encouraging believers of all ages to pass the baton of faith to generations that follow, Smooth Hand Offs is for every parent, grandparent, church leader, teenager, and other individual who desires to leave a legacy of faith.

Smooth Hand Offs examines the book of Judges and compares Joshua’s generation to our own. This story is a source of practical wisdom to help individuals and local churches make a smooth transfer of Christian faith to the generations that follow.

Readers learn how to

  • Use a biblical strategy of spiritual formation to change the lives of others.

  • Pass their Christian faith to younger individuals in their own family and beyond.

  • Create a culture in which leaders pass their insight and authority to those who follow.

Smooth Hand Offs is a great resource to use in a small group or with a leadership team, with application questions after each chapter.

You can find it at these sites:

Warner Press

Check the Ultimate Adventure Remix series for helping your students grow:




information on U.S. and
STW international internships,
check out:

www.emergingleaders101.com or




Mark your calendars for
Leadership Summit
July 9–13 2013,
on the campus of
Mid-America Christian University
in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

This will be an incredible gathering
of young leaders from across
North America, coming together
to grow, serve, learn, and listen
to what God has to say to them.
Don't miss it.

Check out
for more information.




Thank you to Chip

Chip TaylorWords can’t express our gratitude for what Chip Taylor has done to help move the North American youth ministry vision to the next level. After almost fifteen years of service on the YNT/YMT (he came on before term limits) and the last six years as a YMT member, Chip has been a major leader in moving the vision forward. The development of the Intern Academy has largely been the result of Chip’s leadership. The Youth Ministry Institute for leaders at the last two IYCs has been lead by Chip and his team. Chip, we are going to miss you greatly. Thank you for your incredible leadership.



Introducing Adam

Adam RentasAdam Rentas is the newest member of the Youth Ministry Team. Adam has been a member of the Youth Network Team (YNT) since 2009 and is a veteran in youth ministry. He has been a youth pastor in Yuba City, California, since 2003 and just relocated to minister in Vero Beach, Florida. We are excited about what Adam brings to the YMT. Adam is passionate about introducing students to Jesus and helping them develop a lifelong relationship with him. Adam and his wife Rachel were married
in 2003 and have three children
(one just born in July). Adam, we
welcome you to the team!





Just a few of the IYC life-change stories that took place in Denver 2012

The first night, I threw away my regret and became free. God got my attention and made himself clear to me. He also showed me that he is and always will be my number one!—IYC student

Our group went to Red Rocks on Saturday after service, and we were so excited to go! We got out of our cars, and there was a small paved path that led up to a lookout area, and it was so gorgeous. We started to hike up to the top. The farther we hiked, the harder it was to breathe and the more my head hurt. However, the view was becoming more stunning. All of a sudden, the stairs that we were using disappeared! Instead, there was a hand rail, and despite that the climb was so hard. We got all the way to the top of the mountain, and, wow, the view there was beyond words. God showed me that my life can either be like the little lookout area down by the parking lot, or I can choose to hike up the mountain, lose my breath, want to quit, lose my footing…but the blessings along the way and the prize at the top is so, so much cooler than the little hill at the bottom. God is so good. IYC showed me this lesson, even after the convention was over. Thanks, IYC!—IYC Student

I loved it! The speakers opened up my eyes and made me realize even as a Christian there was need for improvement in my life. IYC changed me and my ways! I was able to worship with no distraction and could lift my hands toward God. I could tell everyone felt the presence of God there with us. I can’t wait for 2014! And I will live free, awakened, empowered, and connected! Thanks for giving us this chance to get closer to God!—IYC Student

I decided thirteen hours before my youth group left that I would be joining them at IYC. I was desperate to go on this trip at the last minute and highly anticipating setting my life straight. In the beginning, I felt very uncomfortable because of some of the life choices I had made. I KNEW I needed to change and that God had me on this trip for a reason. I was just praying I found that reason out and got my act together while I was there. The very first night Zane Black’s message went straight to my heart. I LIVED a lifestyle very similar to his and realized through his vulnerability and openness that I was spiraling down…and fast. That night when he had us throw away our sins, I threw it all away. I am FREE! I am done with the partying. I am done being involved with poor decision-making, and I am done living without Jesus in my life.—IYC student

We had six out of our seven students decide to attend the Emerging Leaders session. Our boys formed a bond that I don’t think will ever be broken, and they’ve verbally committed to stop hypocritically believing one way and living another. It was an amazing week! Praise God!—IYC Leader


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