Two hundred youth and adult leaders from 12 churches gathered Jan. 29 at Ridgepoint Church in Wichita, Kansas, for the Southern District Junior High Youth Conference (SDJHYC).
“I think it’s easy for junior highers to feel not as appreciated as senior high school students, but the fact that we make this event a priority and pull it off with excellence is so cool to me,” says Kevin Larson, youth commission SDJHYC point person. “My prayer is that they felt valued and loved by our programming and planning for this event.”
Focusing on the theme, Resilient, speaker Dustin Mulkey, youth pastor at North Oak Community Church in Hays, Kansas, based his two messages on Daniel’s resilience and faith in the face of adversity.
“God desires for us to have a resilient faith—one where when difficulties come, we grow through them, standing firm in our trust in him,” Mulkey says. “We looked at the book of Daniel and the stories of resilience as Daniel and his friends’ faith was tested, how they stood firm in what God desired for them and how they were blessed because of it. My hope was that students would see those stories and understand that following Jesus often means standing out in culture and that we honor God by following him rather than culture.”
Joe Weaver, worship pastor at Cross Timbers Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, led worship.
The event also included two workshop blocks and free-time games. New this year was an extreme team challenge with athletic and non-athletic challenges testing team chemistry among four-person teams.
“My prayer is that students were able to connect in some way with God through Scripture, teaching, music and the fellowship of being together,” says Southern District youth minister Russ Claassen. “Our desire is for these events to be places that bring us together in fun and meaningful environments for these purposes.”
Janae Rempel Shafer is the Christian Leader associate editor. She joined the CL staff in September 2017 with six years of experience as a professional journalist. Shafer is an award-winning writer, having received three 2016 Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence and an Evangelical Press Association Higher Goals award in 2022. Shafer graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in Communications/Journalism and Biblical/Religious Studies. She and her husband, Austin, attend Ridgepoint Church in Wichita, Kansas.