Heather and Lori: Two Hearts Beating for the Next Generation

 In All Church of God, CHOG, IYC: International Youth Convention, Youth Ministries

By Carl Stagner

Women’s history isn’t just a thing of the past; they’re still making history today. Two names headlining the International Youth Convention of the Church of God are excellent examples. While it’s certainly true that Heather Thompson Day and Lori Salierno-Maldonado are expert communicators who wield inspiring biographies and impressive résumés, they’re also two of the most genuine human beings on the planet. Across the spectrum of age and culture, as well as venue, these two motivational ministers have accrued quite the following. But to the advantage of thousands of students gearing up for IYC2024 in Orlando, Florida, this summer, the hearts of these two outstanding women of God beat especially hard for the next generation.

In a recent Church of God Ministries interview with Heather Thompson Day, she opened up candidly about her soft spot for students and young adults.

“At 13,” she recounts, “I was expelled from my small-town Christian church school. It felt, at the time, like I had been expelled from church, or Christian community, in general. All I wanted at that age was for an adult, who wasn’t related to me, to look at me and see a life that still mattered. I serve teens and young adults because those are the years I most needed adult mentorship, advice, vision, and spiritual direction. I think it is important, when you get to where you are going, to go back to where you came from.”

Looking ahead to the rapidly approaching summertime convocation of teenagers from across the Church of God movement, Heather Thompson Day draws an important connection. “This is my opportunity to go back,” she continues , “and tell some teens what I never had anyone tell me. God is so kind to grant me this opportunity.”

Lori Salierno-Maldonado is a globally recognized speaker and author. Known far beyond the Church of God family, her highly sought-after gifts and talents make the Movement proud (in a holy way, of course!). Though she’s been in the presence of celebrities, dignitaries, and global leaders, Lori remains committed to her church family and equipping the next generation. Through her renowned organization Teach One to Lead One, she’s doing that and so much more. But she’s also connected to her roots, a pastor’s kid who won’t ever forget what matters most. “We work with the roughest of the rough kids in our public schools and juvenile courts,” Lori explains, “by placing mentors in their lives, teaching them character and leadership.”

Thank you, Lori, for making a difference in the lives of young people!

With so much demand on her life, however, Lori could wear herself out. Cycling, hiking, and travel certainly help. But, as the author of several books, she’s encouraged her readers to “order their private lives,” as she has done.

“One of the things I do is live my life by my priorities,” Lori explains. “My priorities determine how I spend my time. I have no less than seven priorities at any one given time. Any more than that, I would burn out, and any less than that, I would be under-challenged. I’m pretty strict with my boundaries. I meet consistently with an accountability person who I call my “rooster” (see my book, When Roosters Crow, published by Warner Press) to ask me the tough questions…I have seen too many people burn out in ministry and I intend to burn on and finish well.”

Make history with the Church of God this summer in Orlando, June 27–30, as the International Youth Convention celebrates 100 years of ministry. Learn more and register at www.iycchog.org.

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