As a local church pastor, I went on several visits with a church elder trying to reclaim missing members. After knocking on several doors, we sat in the car and debriefed about the experience. His assessment shocked me: “Pastor, I believe we have enough members. What we need are disciples!” He was right. Matthew 28:19 calls us specifically to make disciples of all nations—not just members but people who will take sacrificial initiative to follow Christ. Such a call is given to this generation as well.
GYC will host its annual convention this year from January 1-4, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. The theme is based on 2 Samuel, “By Many or By Few.” Our hope is to be inspired by the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer who boldly believed in the power of God to deliver them and help them overcome their greatest challenge – the Philistines.
Our challenges today are many and they come from within and without. They can be physical, emotional or spiritual. But the success that Jonathan and his armor bearer enjoyed lay in the fundamental principle of discipleship—simple trust in God. Such a trust we need today, and this year’s GYC will aim to inspire our generation to answer the call of discipleship. As we make this the theme of our meditation, we want to remember our perennial need to seek Christ, make Him the center of everything we do and lift Him up before the world. Specifically, we seek to do this in three areas: the program, the community and the prayer focus at GYC. We believe that these areas are relevant to our generation today and are worthy of your participation whether this will be your first GYC or whether you’ve never missed a GYC.
At this year’s GYC, we are introducing a new segment called breakouts in addition to our seminars and plenary sessions. These are one-hour talks given by individuals who have exemplified excellence in their profession and faithfulness to their God-given call. We will hear from a variety of presenters including missionaries, lawyers, educators, canvassers, pastors and more. We have also sought to provide more opportunities for young people to explore mission opportunities at the exhibit hall and highlight ministries that are making a real difference in people’s lives around the world. We have been intentional to provide our participants with more opportunities for deep Bible study and fellowship by providing flexible times in the program for spontaneous group Bible study, singing, literature ministry or prayer.
Secondly, we want to uplift Christ in the GYC community. As previously mentioned, our exhibit coordinators have been intentional about making sure that every exhibitor provides opportunities for you to utilize your God-given talents for Christ so that you too can participate in the mission of expanding the Kingdom of God. We will begin making disciples by reaching out to the community in Louisville through our evangelistic efforts during GYC. We also invite you to engage in ongoing discussion with your friends and other like-minded young people through the GYC app, where you can share your thoughts and experiences and encourage one another through social media even after the Conference is over. In our day and age, we often see that social media can be a polarizing force, but we believe that it can also be used as a great unifier if we let Christ shine through the content we produce and share. There is nothing stronger than a well-connected, supportive and loving community. After all Jesus Himself said “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” John 15:35. Let us make this our aim at this year’s conference and beyond. For all social media posts relating to GYC, please remember to use the hashtag #GYC19.
Lastly, prayer must be a fundamental biblical discipline that this generation understands and practices. A generation that doesn’t pray is a hopeless generation. The prayer focus at our GYC conferences has been gaining tremendous momentum in the last few years. Several years ago I remember going to the prayer room as one of the leaders of the movement and feeling saddened to find less than ten people gathered to pray. While I am confident that many individuals prayed in private or in other communities during those events, I believe that if we want to see Jesus come in our generation, we need more calloused knees and broken hearts that can be made new in Christ. Over the past few years, as we have worked to make prayer a fundamental aspect of GYC, we have seen more than a thousand people praying together and witnessed miracles taking place as a result. One of those miracles has been the Iceland Project, where a group of young people, together with their church leaders, prayed for the country of Iceland and prayer-walked the entire capital city. As a result, atheists started coming to church, young people experienced revival and lives were changed for eternity.
We don’t want to be on this earth any longer than we have to be. We want to go home! But in order to do this, we need to accept the call of discipleship, take ownership of our prophetic identity and live sacrificial lives for Christ to the end. Whether by many or by few, Jesus will finish this work! On November 22, 2019, we begin the 40 Days of Prayer leading up to the GYC conference and I invite you to join us in this event via social media. Also, if you haven’t registered for the Conference yet, I invite you to do so now. Let us gather together by God’s grace at 6 pm on January 1, 2020 and see what God will do as we lift Him up!