Approximately 150 students, sponsors and leaders attended the Southern District Junior High Youth Conference (JHYC) hosted by Corn (Okla.) MB Church, Jan. 11, 2020.
The theme for the event was “Unshakable Kingdom.” Jared Menard, pastor of youth and families at Hesston (Kansas) MB Church, served as speaker. Menard encouraged students to find their identity in God’s kingdom.
The day-long event included worship, games, lessons and a service project in which students made 50 reusable building block ecobricks, intended to help prevent plastic from contaminating the biosphere.
“Students brought their own soft plastics,” says Kevin Larson, who serves as the Youth Commission’s Director for SDJHYC. “We talked about caring for creation.”
New this year were 30-minute workshops offered in place of a second session. Youth leaders spoke on topics ranging from evangelism to social media to assurance of salvation.
“I think it was really well-received,” Larson says. “We weren’t sure if junior highers could handle that or (if workshops would) keep their attention for that long, but I really liked it. … We haven’t collected any data or anything, but it just seemed like it was a good thing.”
The band from Cross Timbers Church in Edmond, Okla., led worship and was comprised primarily of teenagers from the church’s high school youth group. Two Tabor College students served as emcees.
Larson thanked host Corn MB and youth/associate pastor Sean Estes for their hospitality.
“They really stepped up—very accommodating, very hospitable, very warm and open,” he says. “It was great.”
Larson says he’s grateful to be part of the event.
“I’m really glad that we as a conference can celebrate and focus our money and our time on these students that are worth it,” he says.
Because about 50 students from Ebenfeld MB, Hillsboro MB and Parkview MB Churches in Hillsboro were unable to attend because of weather, a second, condensed “JHYC 2.0” event was held at Parkview MB, Feb. 9, 2020, that included worship, games and messages by Menard.
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.