My husband and I are the youth leaders at our local church, and we were fortunate enough to be able to take 12 young people to St. Louis to experience North American Youth Congress 2019. What an incredible opportunity and amazing experience it was! Our sweet 4-month-old tagged along for the journey, and our 5.5-hour drive quickly turned into 8+ hours — but we would do it all over again so that our young people could worship with over 35,000 of their peers and know that they’re not in this alone.
As astounding as the music was and as heart-wrenching and encouraging as the spoken Word was, I don’t want our young people to get hung up on NAYC.
I don’t want them to wish we were still in St. Louis with thousands of believers.
I don’t want them to be counting down the days until we get to hit the road once more for NAYC 2021…
Now before you write me off as a terrible youth leader and stop reading this post altogether, hear me out. I thoroughly enjoyed NAYC — every song, every message, every crowded city street.
My husband and I will do everything in our power to take our young people to future NAYCs, HYCs, and sectional rallies within our area.
But I don’t just want our young people counting down the days until the next big event. I want them counting down the days to Sunday services at our home church even when we don’t have a guest speaker. To Wednesday night Bible studies when attendance is lighter than ever. To Friday night youth where they have the chance to invite their friends from school to experience a night of good, clean Christian fun and fellowship.
I want our young people to know they don’t need a big event to get filled or refilled with the Holy Ghost; they don’t need a worship team made of some of the most talented singers and musicians to leap and shout; they don’t need a sermon shouted across the pulpit to experience a life-altering moment in the altar on their hands and knees.
These big events are no doubt incredible and unforgettable, but they’re too few and far between. We need to experience God every Sunday, every Wednesday. We need to experience the presence of God EVERY DAY.
Don’t wait for the next big event to make a change or to answer a call. You can make a commitment to change on a seemingly mundane Sunday morning. He can call you to the field when you’re praying at the foot of your bed. The God you felt so evidently at NAYC is the same God who tugs at your heart at a quiet Wednesday night Bible study. You don’t need to be in the middle of a roaring crowd to experience God, just remember:
“FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, THERE AM I IN THE MIDST OF THEM” (MATTHEW 18:20).