Youth Head for Denver
By Carl Stagner
Final preparations are being made for the 48th International Youth Convention of the Church of God, which returns to the Mile-High City next week. Following on the heels of the refreshing North American Convention, IYC2012 is designed for life change. Every time IYC convenes, students, youth leaders, volunteers, and even convention center staff and vendors experience some kind of life change. Students receive Christ, rededicate their lives to the Lord, receive calls to ministry, find freedom from sin, and grow in their faith. The energy and enthusiasm of the students and leaders before, during, and after this one-of-a-kind event is nothing short of contagious.
Beginning on the Fourth of July and extending through the seventh, youth from around the world will gather in downtown Denver to worship the Lord with a vigor that only teenagers can muster. There will be conferences on a variety of subjects selected to address issues that students deal with on a daily basis. Breakout sessions will encourage youth leaders and pastors for more effective ministry, and opportunities for connecting and meeting new friends will abound.
Andy Stephenson, IYC director, speaks to the life-changing potential of IYC: “Over the past ten years at IYC, thousands of teenagers have pledged to remain sexually pure. Thousands of youth have gone to the prayer room to begin or renew their relationship with God. Hundreds of teenagers have indicated a sense of call to full-time ministry or missions. At IYC2010 alone, more than five hundred students [indicated a call to full-time ministry or missions]. Hundreds of students have affected others through an IYC mission experience, and thousands of hours of volunteer service have been given to the IYC host cities. New church plants and existing church plants have been helped through IYC students in the last three IYC host cities.”
And IYC2012 in Denver will be no different. On Thursday, July 5, youth groups will hit the city by storm with tangible expressions of the love of Christ. IMPACT Denver will offer a range of service project opportunities, including aiding local nonprofit organizations in their work, community beautification, visiting nursing and retirement homes, and supporting area churches. IMPACT Denver allows students to thank their host community and cover it with the fingerprints of God. Additional opportunities to live out the love of Christ during IYC will include packaging meals to combat global hunger through Change This World and the collection of offerings to support Spread the Word evangelism projects.
IYC2012 is all about living free, awakened, empowered, and connected. The scriptural focus will not be a single passage but on an entire chapter—Romans 8. Charlie Hall, Matt Papa, and the IYC High School Band will lead worship. Francis Chan, Harvey Carey, Margaret Feinburg, Zane Black, and Steve Fitzhugh will deliver inspiring and challenging messages. Special guests Fireflight, Jared Hall, Group 1 Crew, and the Skit Guys will share artistry in a myriad of forms.
Prior to the opening celebration, youth groups will participate in a prayer walk. They’ll move from site to site throughout the convention venues, praying specifically for activities slated to take place during IYC. Prayer is an incredibly important component to the International Youth Convention. Please pray for the thousands of young people and their leaders as they experience the transforming power and love of God.