GYC Annual Meeting Offers End-Time Inspiration and Outreach Opportunities


(Spectrumbot) #1

With the theme To the End, the 2018 Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) national conference convened in Houston, Texas, United States, from December 28, 2018 to January 1, 2019.

Each year at the end of December, GYC brings together young participants from around the world who are eager to grow their spirituality and be fed solid spiritual food, organizers said.

At GYC, participants have the opportunity to engage in outreach in the community, hear various sermons, interact at the networking sessions, and take in music and testimonies. Participants can also connect with supporting ministries and discover opportunities for service in the exhibit hall.

According to the GYC website, the organization was founded by a small group of young people in 2002 who desired to delve deeper into scripture and study it for themselves. They wanted to have a revival similar to the excitement and power experienced during Pentecost at the beginning of the Christian church.

Reflecting on this year’s conference and its theme, GYC participant Chris Matts said, “GYC gives me hope that I will see Jesus come in my lifetime!”

GYC leaders said that this year’s conference was intended to instill in people the idea that God does not want to leave anyone behind. As Seventh-Day Adventists, do we step out of our comfort zone or do we stay in our little Adventist bubble, content to let the world perish all around us while we wait to go to heaven? they said.

Moise Ratsara, current president of GYC, shared with participants in his sermon on opening night that God is not willing to lose one person on earth to sin. The reason God sent His Son is that we would otherwise all be lost, and God wanted to give fallen humanity the opportunity to be saved, explained Ratsara. God went to the end literally to save us, so will we go to the end for Him? he asked.

GYC president Moise Ratsara shares the keynote message on opening night of the annual national convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, United States. Flags on stage represented the nations from which attendees came.

Steven Conway, a pastor from the Michigan Conference, told participants in his presentation, “We cannot reach the ends of the world until we first reach the end of ourselves.” Going to the end does not always mean heading off to some faraway place to serve God in the jungle, he said. It may mean serving God by being a light and witness to those closest to us, our families. The people we know best are sometimes the people we forget about because our focus is on reaching others.

Key speakers for 2018 GYC plenary sessions included General Conference youth ministries director Gary Blanchard, Ron Kelly, and Steven Conway. Blanchard encouraged participants to be bold for God and not to sit back. In a day and age where young people are more likely to search for safe spaces, he said, God calls us to step out and be bold for Him wherever we are. General Conference president Ted N. C. Wilson also gave a presentation, in which he encouraged participants to “avoid ecumenical compromises and stand firm for God’s unique truth to the end.”

The outreach opportunity for GYC attendees this year took place on Sunday afternoon. Participants had the option of traditional door-to-door outreach or could reach out to refugees and immigrants from around the world living in Houston, Texas, who speak more than 145 different languages. It is GYC’s hope that this outreach would help people realize that serving God goes a lot farther than the traditional means of outreach, organizers said.

Representing God to the world around us involves the little things in life, like being welcoming to our new neighbors on the street, helping out at the local soup kitchen, or teaching English as a second language, one GYC leader said.

Some GYC participants went door to door collecting brand new items to put together for refugee kits. These kits would be assembled and distributed during the GYC post-conference outreach effort. GYC attendees who signed up for the post-conference effort revisited refugees to deliver the kits and also revisited homes where residents had requested Bible studies during the initial conference outreach, to begin studies with them. This is the first time GYC volunteers have returned immediately following an outreach effort to contact residents who made a decision to study the Bible, organizers said.

GYC 2018 attendees load into buses for Sunday’s outreach activity in Houston, Texas, United States, on December 31, 2018.

At the end of the GYC conference outreach day, participants heard statistics from the day’s activities:

32 buses that took participants into the community

1,664 volunteers knocking on doors

11,044 total doors knocked on

3,276 doors of refugee homes knocked on

151 refugees interested in Bible studies

622 total people interested in Bible study

536 Bible study sets distributed

19,643 Glow tracts given away

The GYC annual conference is organized by both the organization’s executive committee members as well as by hundreds of volunteers. This year’s GYC conference also had a dedicated media team that served in various capacities throughout the conference, organizers said. The team was led by Clive Coutet, media director at Weimar Institute in Weimar, California, United States. Coutet had been a photographer and videographer for GYC for several years in the past. His six-person student team from Weimar managed Instagram stories for the GYC conference, recorded mission stories and testimonies from participants, and captured footage of the conference that will be used in the upcoming trailer for GYC’s next conference. “It’s been powerful passing on years of knowledge and experience to a new young generation of media evangelists,” Coutet said.

This year, GYC conference participants also had the opportunity to do something a little different during the networking session, organizers said. A new workbook was created by Eric Louw, vice-president of networking for GYC, entitled Activate. The workbook helps people find God’s calling for them in life and helps them achieve their God-given life goals and plans. Each evening of the conference, participants got together in small groups based on where they live in the US or in the world, and each one had an opportunity, alone and as a group, to complete the workbook chapter assigned for that day.

GYC attendees fill out the Activate booklet in groups during an evening session at the 2018 national conference in Houston, Texas, United States.

On Saturday (Sabbath) afternoon, Tara Vang, GYC vice-president of evangelism, gave her testimony. As a person who was a refugee herself, Vang’s message was timely for the age we live in, one leader said, when it seems as though we are constantly learning more about refugees from all over the world. At the end of her testimony, Vang gave an appeal, asking participants to come forward and sign up for mission service.

One participant approached Vang the following day, she said, asking her if she could still be counted among those who came forward for the appeal, since at the time she had not been wearing her event name tag and had not been counted. Young people are hungry for action, Vang said. They are eager to be more than what society thinks they can be.

“If you want to be inspired and challenged to take sacrificial initiatives for Christ to the end of the earth,” noted Ratsara, “then GYC is for you.”

Young people are invited to get involved with GYC, Ratsara said, and they can also discover service opportunities that are available by looking at the GYC website. The next GYC national conference will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, January 1-5, 2020.

This article was written by Seth Shaffer and originally appeared on AdventistReview.org. It is reprinted here with permission. Photos courtesy of Seth Shaffer/Adventist Review.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9345

#2

Thanks for the informative update, Seth. Question: is 1664 the total conference attendees?


(George Tichy) #3

I want to hear comments of what kind of theological teaching is provided to those kids. From prior discussions here about the GYC meetings, Kevin Paulson was adamant that they have been presented (corrupted!) with LGT.

This requires clarification. Can anyone please come up with real facts?


(Frank Peacham) #4

This is an example of true revival in mission, service, morally and commitment.
This picture would be complete if the GC would take the leadership in self-reform in streamlining church finances, election of officers and providing more openness to policies.

I wonder if Jackson from the NAD was present?


(Eric Louw) #5

GYC 2018 Evening plenary 3

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. Message starts at 1:10:00.


(George Tichy) #6

I am not interested in spending time watching those procedures.
But I am interested in an answer to,

Is LGT being taught to the youth at the GYC meetings?
YES ____ … … NO ____

Can you, or anyone else clarify it with certainty?


(Phillip Brantley) #7

I think GYC is admirable. There are so many features that contribute to its success: a nice niche in the calendar is filled, the annual meeting blends vacation-like relaxation with an academic environment, a rich and varied selection of seminars is offered, the speakers come from all walks of life, the outreach activity bears significant fruit (622 people interested in Bible study is impressive), the seminar presentations are archived and easily accessible online, good accommodations, good food, and an outpouring of Seventh-day Adventist Church support.


(George Tichy) #8

Phil, it all sounds good. I admire the activities and programs. Lots of work to make it happen, but it’s a commendable project. I only would like to have an answer to my question above.

My only concern is about a possible indoctrination process being infiltrated very quietly to promote the LGT heresy. I remember Kevin Paulson a few years ago bragging here that those kids were “understanding” the LGT…
I am just curious about it… :thinking:


(Thomas J Zwemer) #9

George asks the 64 thousand question. Is this Conference, this organization Gospel centered or works centered. As Kevin’s refrain is perfectionism in his promotion of the organization, the question is central. The Weimar connection is telling. Adventism is fast becoming a minor part of American evangelicalism wth a different slant on the Rapture. They have turned the Good News into puffery.


(George Tichy) #10

Hi Tom,
I am glad you have been able to sign on. It seems you had some problems a few days ago.

Regarding my question, have you noticed that people usually don like questions that require an answer?.. :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:


(Eric Louw) #11

The message I posted is one of a series that is not compatible with some of the major elements commonly attributed to historic Andreasen or Kirkpatrick LGT. It is patently gospel centered. Those who wish to see for themselves may.


(George Tichy) #12

It still does not answer my question. I am not referring to any one singled message. I am asking a question about the theological orientation of what has been (and is) taught to the youth at the GYC.

But, never mind, hopefully soon someone, anyone, will come up with a clarification on the issue, either way.


(Eric Louw) #13

The orientation of our leadership team is not works focused or LGT as the Andrews University Theological Seminary would define it based on my interactions with faculty on the topic as a current grad student. There have been past speakers who have at times taken the liberty of preaching things that have not always represented our views (as can happen anywhere). This obviously has at times caused associations with a variety of ideas, LGT being one of them. Because we are trying to focus on mission and active involvement in service, we do not expend time making statements on theologically nuanced issues and debates. In my experience, service and mission tend to bring people to center, rather than focusing on theological or soteriological tangents which frequently do more harm than good.

As a result of this shift in focus, we can report that in the last year, GYC participants reported being instrumental in 2,500+ Bible studies, 760+ baptisms, and 2,000+ Mission or service related opportunities during 2018.


(George Tichy) #14

Based on your statement, my conclusion is that the GYC leadership is NOT actively indoctrinating the youth with the LGT heresy (aka “perfectionism”), that there is no intention to infiltrate this heresy in the Church. Am I correct?

I understand that you can speak officially for the GYC’s leadership, correct?

Another question would be, Does the GYC leadership understand the danger represented by the LGT heresy, and are they protecting our youth against it by not allowing LGTarian preachers to sow poisonous seeds in the youth’s young and vulnerable brains?


#15

The GYC website states The Spirit of GYC as follows:

In seeking to uphold the distinctive message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, GYC will promote among its participants:

  1. A respect for Scripture as the foundation and test of all teachings and practices
  2. An appreciation for the Spirit of Prophecy as an authoritative source of instruction, comfort, and warning
  3. A quest for Biblical holiness through a daily prayer and devotional experience with Jesus and a commitment to following His Word
  4. A vibrant worship experience one that is characterized by principle, reverence, and decorum
  5. A passion for lost souls animated by personal experience in the saving love of Jesus and a desire for His imminent return
  6. A cultivation of godly relationships preserving purity and encouraging accountability
  7. An exemplary and abundant lifestyle in recreation, entertainment, dress, and healthful living
  8. An enthusiasm for service through care for the needy, service to the community, promotion of human rights, and stewardship of the environment
  9. A commitment to the Seventh-day Adventist Church as God’s remnant church by supporting and upholding its principles, organization, and leadership
  10. An attitude of humility and cordiality as we seek to clarify, articulate, and defend the Biblical teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist church

(Eric Louw) #16

Correct, there is no such intention. It is hard for me to respond to the rest of your question though as what you define as LGT, perfectionism, etc. may not be in alignment with the seminary or others. I’m also not in a position to make any “official statement” on behalf of GYC besides speaking from my own personal perspective and understanding on the current leadership team. The reason for this is because we would have to meet together and draft something to do so, and I doubt any of us would want to take the time causing division and widespread misunderstanding at the expense of our mission. I’m well aware of the major pitfalls of some of the problems commonly associated with and attributed to LGT, and I know a number of my colleagues are as well. That said, there are also plenty of people who are opposed to LGT who also have little regard for a high view of the authority of scripture, sop, and overcoming in general which I know I wouldn’t want to be associated with either. So yeah, I think that’s all I’ll say. The message I linked may provide further clarification on nuances. The above statement quoted from our website is the best place to start.


(George Tichy) #17

It’s all great, I fully support that list of things being promoted.

My concerns have been triggered by Kevin Paulson’s bragging on this site in the past about the success of teaching LGT to the GYC crowd. If I remember well, he himself was involved in some way with the leadership of the GYC, and at that time he had even been one of the speakers.

I am significantly uncomfortable that I can’t yet get a CLEAR statement that the GYC does not support/promote LGT, that they are protecting our youth against this heresy.


(George Tichy) #18

Thanks for replying again. Let me comment on some issues that sound problematic:

There is absolutely no doubt that the LGT is the old perfectionism heresy that was rejected several times by our Church in the past. Not now, since TW is a confessed LGTarian himself (he declared it in his Sabbath morning sermons at the AC-18).

Referring to “the seminary or others” is a very vague statement. Do you mean Andrews University? And who are the “others.”

Then I can only wish that someone could come here and offer an official statement. Otherwise, we are back to level zero of official information.

Now, this is a troubling, very troubling statement.

  1. Why would dealing with the issue cause “division” among you guys? Are there known LGTarians among you who have such an influence to be able to cause division?
  2. Are you saying that on one side are the LGTarians, and on the other side are “people who are opposed to LGT who also have little regard for a high view of the authority of scripture, sop…,” meaning that the LGTarians are actually those who are faithful to Scripture and to EGW, but not those who oppose LGT? Please clarify your statement, because the way it is it’s extremely troublesome.

In my view, the best place to start is to be clear and unequivocal about one single issue:
Does the GYC repudiate the LGT heresy? ____ YES … … NO ___

Why would it be so difficult to make an official, clear, unequivocal statement about this issue? Please, ask someone who can speak officially for the GYC to answer this question. Thanks.


(Eric Louw) #19

See, this is where I get into trouble, because people start reading into everything I say as if there’s something there when there isn’t. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
We have participants who attend GYC from all across the theological spectrum. Our present focus and mission are listed on our website and typically communicated at our annual conference. It does not include seeking to label and divide our participants into camps at the expense of our mission to inspire people to take sacrificial initiative for Christ. Our recordings are freely available online for personal evaluation to those concerned enough to evaluate them (as linked previously), and I think you would find them incompatible with the pitfalls commonly associated with LGT. As it is, I believe I’ve answered your question more than adequately without any intent to mislead. Don’t read into things too much. I’d love to give a perfect yes or no answer, but because that means something different to different people, I can only say what I’ve said. :slight_smile:


(George Tichy) #20

OK, I understand that you don want to go beyond what you already said. Fine with me.

I only hope that the GYC leadership will be not only concerned with the social mission toward others in society, but also with not allowing the young participants to be targeted by people teaching heresy in a very subtle way as the LGTarians do.

This is my only concern, and I hope you guys will stay always alert enough to detect the wolves. Because lately they have been disguised as sheep, by adopting a fancy name (LGT) to rename (hide, disguise) an old enemy of the SDA Church and of the Christian Church as well, the perfectionism heresy.