SDC youth attend one-day retreat

Junior high students challenged to be God’s mighty warriors

Eleven SDC churches were represented at the annual junior high youth conference hosted by North Oak Community Church in Hays, Kansas. Photo: SDC

Almost 200 youth and sponsors gathered Jan. 26, 2019, at North Oak Community Church in Hays, Kansas, for the Southern District Junior High Youth Conference (JHYC). The theme of the conference was “Mighty Warriors.”

Chandelle Claassen from Koerner Heights Church in Newton, Kansas, spoke about God being a mighty warrior, God’s love for his children and how students can be mighty warriors for God.

“As the speaker, I had a passion to share about a very personal and loving God,” says Claassen. “I wanted to speak into each person’s identity and their confidence to be themselves. We explored the multitude of names and attributes of each member of the Trinity. We reflected on how personal and intimate God is in our lives and how he fights for us in the hard and challenging times. We closed the day exploring how we are mighty warriors for God and others and the need we have to prayerfully and imaginatively put on the armor of God to protect us.”

Kevin Larson, Hillsboro, Kansas, served as the Youth Commission’s JHYC director. “I loved JHYC this year,” he says. “We came together, had fun, served, learned about our identity and Gods love and worshiped with abandonment. I am confident the Holy Spirit will use this weekend in both big and small ways to advance his kingdom.”

Larson affirmed the contributions of the North Oak congregation, including Jeff Neher who was the host church director. “North Oak was a fantastic host church that went above and beyond by praying and writing cards of encouragement for each person who attended,” Laron says. “When I saw all those cards taped to the back of the sanctuary, I knew God was on the move.”

A number of teens and young adults were involved in leadership and organization of JHYC.

The Southern District Conference Junior High Youth Conference featured a worship team comprised of teens and young adults. Photo: JHYC

Joe Weaver, worship pastor at Cross Timbers Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, led a worship team comprised of junior high and high school students and adults.

“God used a passionate group of teens and young adults in directing our hearts to offer our praise and adoration to a God that loves us beyond measure,” Weaver says. “We worshiped, singing the gospel message of Jesus conquering sin and death to offer us new life through the resurrection of Christ. We were challenged to give God the highest place in our heart and lives; that he would have no rival, no equal and no competition for our affections. As JHYC came to a close, we praised the Lord and prayed that he would stir a passion in our hearts and that his holy fire would burn inside us as we live out our lives in worship to Christ!”

A high school student designed the event logo and the North Oak high school youth group members planned and organized free-time activities that included a nerf battle, nine-square in the air, escape rooms, painting, a photo booth and a photo scavenger hunt. Emcees were college students.

Russ Classen, SDC youth minister, reports that the 196-plus attendees came from 11 SDC churches and included 150 students, more than 35 youth workers and 12 program team members.


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