Working with teenagers for over two decades, I know that ministry can have its high points and low points, but all of us stay involved because we know the life change Jesus can bring about in a teenager that affects generations to come.

I have been a youth pastor in small and large settings—from a small town of 2,000 to a large metro area around 4 million—and understand that each brings with it opportunities and challenges. As a youth leader, I know that I am trying to find experiences and moments that will be catalytic in creating key moments for life change in teenagers.

I have been to numerous conferences, mission trips, retreats, service projects, and other youth events. Some have been pivotal life change moments and others haven’t produced much fruit. There are many options for us as youth leaders and I was always trying to figure out what would bear the most fruit.

IYC—the International Youth Convention—is based on helping create a pivotal moment in a student’s life to bring about life change. Everything that happens is run through a grid: does this help create a moment of life change? The ten student leaders chosen from around the country and the youth ministry team pray and take seriously the four days of IYC to make sure it is a key moment in students and leaders lives.

We know it takes effort and funds to bring students to IYC. In some areas, it is more difficult than other areas to pull it together, but one thing I do know, a changed life is worth all the planning and effort to get a student to experience God’s amazing power at IYC.

There are many options to take your students to, but one thing I know, God changes lives at IYC. There are hundreds of stories of how God shows up in this pivotal moment with thousands of students and speaks to someone’s heart that changes the course of their history and generations that follow. Here are just a few examples: https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/iyc-videos/ (scroll down to the life change videos).

Don’t miss this IYC, July 2–5, 2018, in Indianapolis, Indiana. I really sense this could be one of the most powerful life change IYCs we have ever experienced. Register today at www.iyc2018.org.

Together raising up a new generation of Christ-centered disciples,


Andy Stephenson

Andy Stephenson, PhD, is the associate director of North American Ministries at Church of God Ministries and director of IYC. He can be reached at AStephenson@chog.org.

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Life change. This is what IYC is all about. Life change in students. Life change in adults. Life change in all who attend. Life change is the primary focus behind this incredible event. Over the years of attending the IYC, both as a student and youth pastor, I have been privileged to observe this life change happen. It always amazes me to see God at work. Let me share a story with you.

Sam Gonzalez has been a part of the congregation that I serve for all his life. Over the years, Sam has learned stories from the Bible. He heard about the teachings, miracles, and life of Jesus. Outside of church life, Sam has taken years of piano lessons. This guy has a knack for music. He can listen to a song and play it shortly thereafter. Sam can pick up an instrument and play. He is a pretty sharp student. Sam attended IYC2016 in San Antonio. He wasn’t sure what to expect. He had heard lots of good things but was impressed by what he experienced. During the convention, Sam sensed God’s leading in his life to do more than just play music. God planted a seed in Sam’s life to pursue music ministry. There is still clarity needed as to what that ministry looks like, but Sam is convinced that God has something planned for his life in this area. And it all started at IYC.

Life change. This is what IYC is all about. Be a part of life change. Be a part of IYC2018 in Indianapolis. Experience the change that God will make.

See you in Indy!



R.W. Moody Jr

R.W. Moody Jr. is a Youth Ministry Team member and the pastor of student and missional ministries at Parkgate Community Church in Pasadena, Texas. He can be reached at rwmoody@parkgate.org.

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For years, we’ve been saying that “IYC is about life change,” and if you ever talk to a student who’s attended, they’ll undoubtedly be able to tell you about when they experienced God’s goodness through acts of service, when they forged lifelong friendships with other brothers and sisters in Christ from around the country, or maybe even when they made a life-changing decision to follow Christ for the first time…but what about LEADERS?

It’s easy to understand the tendency to overlook the impact that IYC has on the lives of the leaders that attend (it is called the International YOUTH Convention after all), but IYC is actually designed on purpose to give the opportunity for life change among leaders, as well. Here are just a few ways that you might see this lived out at IYC2018:

  • Receiving intentional training—At each IYC, youth leaders are given the opportunity to learn from student ministry pioneers, as well as some of our best and brightest young leaders. In my own experience, this training becomes most transformative in the untold number of conversations that take place between leaders in the hours, days, and even years that follow.
  • Seeing your own leadership multiplied—One of the most rewarding things any leader can experience is seeing your own teaching modeled in the life of a student. Literally every time I have taken a group to IYC, God has given me the gift of being able see at least one of the students from our group step up in a way that none of our group was expecting. Be on the lookout for these moments at IYC2018, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
  • Being reminded that God is at work in younger generations—Every adult leader that attends IYC is given a gift that very few within our congregations get to experience: we get to see what it looks like when literally THOUSANDS of teenage students come together to learn about, grow closer to, and ultimately glorify Jesus Christ. Honestly, at each IYC that I’ve attended as an adult leader, it’s this image that I treasure the most. It’s a reminder for me that our teenagers are not a lost generation at all. They aren’t just the future of the church; they are the very church itself. My prayer for you at IYC2018 is that this realization will recharge you and your ministry for years to come!



Josh Boldman

Josh Boldman is a Youth Ministry Team member and the former student ministries pastor at White Chapel Church of God in Florida. He recently transitioned to Willow Creek Community Church at the Crystal Lake campus and can be reached at josh@joshboldman.com.

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While the “weather outside is frightful,” the reality is that many youth ministry leaders are already in full summer-planning mode! As we work on those plans, one of the biggest questions we often ask is “What can I do to create opportunities for my students to experience spiritual growth during our summer trips?” Wrestling with the question in the early stages of planning can prove to be beneficial come June, July, and August.

With this question in mind, one of the ways that I have been able to capitalize on the overall goal of IYC (to create a moment for life change) has been to organize a pre-IYC mission trip for my students. We have found that by getting our students together for three to five days leading in to IYC for a local mission project has done wonders for our group.

In the past, we have built our pre-IYC mission experience around the idea that we can serve in our own community, not just around the country or around the world. We connected with local organizations (The Salvation Army, food banks, homeless shelters, retirement communities, nursing homes, etc.) and asked them how we could serve them during a specific week. From these contacts, we were able to create a full schedule for our students!

Service projects provide our students with opportunities to connect with each other and with local organizations they can serve regularly while also paving the way spiritually for Christ to move in their lives before, during and after IYC.

For more information about organizing a pre-IYC mission experience, e-mail Adam at Adam.R@myfirstchurch.com.

IYC has a long-standing partnership with Lead 222 to help provide pre-IYC mission experiences in the IYC host cities. For more information about the experience offered in Indianapolis in 2018, go to www.iyc2018.org and click on the pre-IYC missions tab.



Adam Rentas

Adam Rentas is a Youth Ministry Team member and serves as lead youth pastor at First Church of God in St. Joseph, Michigan. He can be reached at adam.r@myfirstchurch.com.

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Planning a trip to IYC can be overwhelming, especially for a first-time youth leader. We have created several helps at www.iyc2018.org to help you get there, step by step. First, at the top of the home page, click on the “Registration” tab, then look for the box labeled, “Tips for a great experience.” This will lead you to a downloadable document full of information, including a suggested timeline for planning for all things IYC. Back at the top of the home page, click on “Resources” and find the FAQ document with even more information.

As soon as you register at least one person for your group (the main leader), you will receive an automated e-mail with the housing packet and links to book your rooms.

We are here to help make your IYC experience the best it can be, and to make sure your group gets to be a part of this huge opportunity for life change. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if our team may be of assistance. You may reach us at iyc@chog.org or by calling 800-848-2464. We are here to serve you!



Tami Byrd

Tami Byrd served as a youth pastor for seventeen years and currently serves as the North American youth ministry project coordinator at Church of God Ministries. She can be reached at TByrd@chog.org.

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Chris Spitters

Chris Spitters

Thank you to Chris Spitters, who recently finished his final term on the Youth Ministry Team. Chris has served faithfully for many years, and we especially appreciate his skills in working with the IYC Band. We are grateful that Chris has once again agreed to direct the IYC Band at IYC2018, so he is still a vital part of the team. We appreciate and love you, Chris!

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Josh Boldman
Andy Stephenson
R. W. Moody
Adam Rentas


We are excited to have several new faces serving with us. So glad to have each of these top leaders on the team! You can check out their bios at www.chogyouth.org.

Micah Thurston, Kilgore, TX
Micah ThurstonKilgore, TX
David Hughes, Phoenix, AZ
David HughesPhoenix, AZ
George Fultz, Columbus, OH
George FultzColumbus, OH
Abbie Craig, Indianapolis, IN
Abbie CraigIndianapolis, IN
Justin Brown, Casper, WY
Justin BrownCasper, WY
Matt Hale, Winchester, KY
Matt HaleWinchester, KY

Youth Network Team


Jessica Uitvlugt (VA)
Tyler Williams (OH)
Mickey Taylor (FL)

Kyle Cooper (VA)
Chris Leon (AZ)
Nathanael Lyon (OH).



June 20–21, 2018—ONE Event in Columbus, Ohio—www.chogyouth.org

July 2–5, 2018—International Youth Convention, Indianapolis, IN—www.iyc2018.org


If you would like to be coached, we have partnered with Lead222 to give you access to this quality organization. Get coached and become a coach in training for only a $25 registration fee. Don’t delay, sign up, and grow today at www.lead222.com.

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