- Generation of Youth for Christ
Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) formerly the General Youth Conference began as a grassroots Christian movement of racially-diverse
Seventh-day Adventistyoung people seeking to be radically Bible-based, mission-driven, and church-supporting. Today its annual conferences attract well over 3,000 attendees and volunteers have organized regional training and mission events across the globe.
Since its first official conference in 2002, GYC has provided teaching and training alongside real-life opportunities for service. This has proven a winning combination among young people serious about whole-hearted service to Christ and his world.
Registered as a non-profit organization in the state of Michigan, GYC’s headquarters is currently in
Ann Arbor, Michigan. GYC is governed by its board of directors and supported by its official sponsors: Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) [http://www.asiministries.org/index.php] and The Center for Adventist Ministry to Public University Students (CAMPUS) – a division of the Michigan Conference Public Campus Ministries department. [ [http://www.campushope.com/AboutUs About Us | C.A.M.P.U.S. -Center for Adventist Ministry to Public University Students ] ]
Inspiration and Leaders
The idea of GYC was conceived by Israel Ramos, then-student at
Andrews Universityand Justin Kim, then-student at Brandeis University. The vision was of a conference where youth people would be trained in Biblical studies and mobilized to do evangelism. This mission driven vision sought to encompass racial diversity, Biblical fidelity, and a vibrant youth culture. Along with other leaders Andrea Oliver from Princeton University, Stephen Waterbrook, Jukes Namm, and Judy Namm from University of Michigan, Jeannie Kim from Brown University, James Kim from Rutgers University, and Janine Kowell from La Sierra University, young people from various parts of the United States sought to create a grassroots movement that offered an alternative to existing youth initiatives.
* 2002, Pine Springs Ranch, Southeastern California - Theme: “Pentecost: He Will Do It Again”With a special emphasis on spiritual revival, the first conference anticipated 200 attendees, but registered 400 and had to close registration because the facility was filled to capacity. Its theme reminded young people that what God had done in the past, He would do again. Most of the attendees were from secular universities, a good number of whom had been impacted by CAMPUS. The key speakers included Randy Skeete,
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, Chester Clark, Peter Gregory, Andy Im, Jonathan Zita, and Eugene Prewitt.
* 2003, Ann Arbor, Michigan - Theme: “Higher than the Highest”Expecting 700, the conference registered 800, and had over 1000 attended. This conference underscored the necessity of excellence in every sphere of a young person’s life and resonated with the idealism of youth. Besides numerical growth, the Ann Arbor GYC was a marked improvement over the first GYC. It also witnessed growth in speaker quality (including sociologist Dr. David Williams from Harvard University, Dr. Jerry Moon from
Andrews UniversityProfessor, and other respected church leaders such as then-General Conference Education Director Humberto Rasi and Michigan Conference President Jay Gallimore) and growth in missionary-focus, professionalism, and effectiveness.
* 2004, Sacramento, California - Theme: “Carry the Light”Having registered 1200, attendance exceeded 1800. The subject of evangelism was not merely preached, but pragmatically implemented when 600 young people knocked on the doors of over 5,000 homes and enrolled over 800 people in Bible studies in preparation for ASI’s approaching evangelistic effort. This was the first time GYC meetings were telecast on TV. This publicity by
3ABN, together with the presence of the GC President and other influential church leaders, no doubt caught the attention of world church and others who had in the past tried to dismiss or ignore the GYC phenomenon.
Attendees from Europe, Asia, and Australia, also frustrated by the contemporary and critical youth ministry approaches in their countries, were refreshed by the 2004 Sacramento GYC meeting and expressed a desire of seeing GYC-like movements in their parts of the world. The broadcast of the GYC event overseas further inspired other young people outside North America to start Bible-based, mission-driven, church-supporting approach to youth ministries (instead of the extremes of entertainment-oriented and critical-approaches).
Main Speakers Included:
David Asscherick, Speaker/Director of the ARISE Institute
Doug Batchelor, Speaker/Director of Amazing Facts
Shawn Boonstra, Speaker/Director of It Is Written
Mark Finley, General Conference Vice President
Jan Paulsen, General Conference President
Louis Torres, Speaker/Vice-President of Mission College
* 2005, Chattanooga, Tennessee - Theme: “Now is the Time”With more than 2500 registered and attendance of about 3500, the theme was designed to call attention to the signs of Christ’s soon return and to encourage attendees to prepare their hearts and earnestly work for His coming. This meeting attracted the largest number of students from Adventist institutions. The impact of this GYC meeting on the students and their glowing report when they returned to school in January may have baffled, if not drawn apprehension, on most North American Adventist campuses. [ [http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=335 Youth Congress Attendees Recruit Hundreds of Bible Study Interests] ". "
Adventist Review" January 26, 2006]
Main Speakers Included:
* C. D. Brooks, Speaker Emeritus, Breath of Life
* Ron Clouzet, Director of the North American Division Evangelism Institute
* Michael Hasel, Professor,
Southern Adventist University
* John Nixon, Senior Pastor, Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church
* Cindy Tutsch,
Ellen White Estate
* 2006, Baltimore, Maryland - Theme: “By Every Word”Around 2,600 people registered for the conference, and 4,000 people attended the Sabbath morning services. On Sabbath afternoon, the attendees took part in a massive outreach opportunity where they knocked on 8,950 doors, prayed with 894 people, distributed 7,538 Bible study cards, and signed up 719 people for Bible studies. These contacts were followed up by 4 dedicated GYC Bible workers, who also conducted lay Bible Workers’ training at local churches over a period of 7 week. This was followed by an evangelistic series conducted by GYC young people in collaboration with the Chesapeake Conference. More than 200 lay Bible Workers were trained and about 40 souls were baptized. [" [http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?id=1025 General Youth Conference Inspires Young People’s Confidence in Bible] ". "Adventist Review" March 8, 2007]
In his plenary address at the GYC meeting, a Vice-President of the General Conference (Ted Wilson) encouraged GYC to continue with its noble mission and urged them to “work closely” with the church. His message should be understood against the backdrop of the discussions that had taken place at the “GYC Advisory” and GYC’s “Statement of Intent.” (see below) NAD Youth Director (James Black) was present on Friday evening, and on during the Sabbath morning Divine Service, he brought his special greetings to the GYC attendees.
* 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota - Theme: “Be” (shortened form of “Be ye transformed,” Romans 12:2)It focused on salvation and what it means to be a real Christian. Because of scheduling problems with the convention center, the date for this Minneapolis GYC meeting coincided with examination week for many students. But although a low turn-out was expected because of the timing of the event and the extremely cold Winter weathers in Minneapolis, some 3000 young people attended and braved the harsh weather for the outdoor evangelism outreach.
* 2008, San Jose, California - Theme: "For This Purpose"
Christian leaders and laypeople alike agree that youth ministry is a top priority. What is not so clear is how to do it most effectively. An unknown author once described a fitting analogy, "If a large group of young people were to find themselves stationed in a lush tropical paradise at the foot of a rugged mountain it is only natural that some would soon tire of the comfortable existence at the bottom and seek to conquer the towering peak above." Are youth best reached at the base of the mountain, surrounded by the comforts and realities of modern life? Or are they to be "called up higher" with the expectation that if given the proper equipment and training they will reach the peak of usefulness to Christ and the church?
GYC early on chose to call young people away from the comforts of daily life to a full and effective commitment of their lives to service. This means that as a movement, GYC has placed very little emphasis on spectator forms of youth ministry, opting instead to emphasis participation and involvement. GYC does not attempt to meet youth where they are--but instead calls them to where they can be the man or woman Christ wants them to be.
As the GYC began to grow, a number of observers involved in mainstream youth ministry were seeking, in contrast to the GYC idea, to create disciples by meeting young people where they were and then nurturing them to Christian maturity. From their perspective, GYC's emphasis was change oriented and challenging. This, combined with the distinct similarity between the movement's original name and that of the highest leadership body of the church and its largest administrative gathering, gave the impression that GYC was a competitive, divisive organization working against the goals of the larger denomination.
In the minds of GYC leadership and certainly membership, there was no desire to come across as divisive. Hence the conversations delineated in the following two sections. The end result is better understanding on both sides and the freedom to continue to grow as an organization dedicated to supporting the growth and vibrancy of the church at large.
Statement of Clarification
The General Conference Youth Ministries Department issued a "Clarification Statement Regarding General Youth Conference (GYC)" following the World Youth Advisory meeting in March/April 2006. It affirmed GYC's involvement in evangelism yet was "concerned" that some were under the impression it was authorized by the General Conference Youth Ministries Department because of its "close name association". GYC subsequently released its own statement. [" [http://www.gycweb.org/files/GYCStatementofClarification.pdf GYC Statement of Clarification] " May 3, 2006. The original General Conference statement is reprinted as Appendix C on page 12. Accessed 2007-12-13]
Statement of Intent
On August 3, 2006, GC/NAD officials met with GYC/ASI leaders to discuss the substantive issues raised by the two documents. This group eventually became the GYC Advisory Committee. A Statement of Intent was sent and accepted by GYC to this committee stating their intentions to further a solidified relationship between the two entities. GYC agreed to change its name from the General Youth Conference to the Generation of Youth for Christ in order to prevent confusions in nomenclature as well as work within operational standards of the church by becoming an organizational member of ASI.
Spirit of GYC
As the heartbeat of this youth-initiated and youth-led movement, all GYC participants and attendees are expected to uphold and exhibit the values expressed in The Spirit of GYC statement. It reads:
“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.”
Board of Directors [ [http://gycweb.org/node/33 Board of Directors | GYC ] ]
* Justin McNeilus--Chairman, Vice President, Sterling State Bank
* Amy Sheppard--Secretary, CAMPUS Missionary
* Tom Owiti--Treasurer, Senior Financial Analyst,
* Luke Whiting, Assistant Pastor, Grand Rapids, Michigan
* Justin Kim, Pastor, Battle Creek, Michigan
* Chester V. Clark III, General Vice President, ASI
* Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, Ph.D., Director, Michigan Conference Public Campus Ministries
* Timothy Arakawa, MD-Ph.D. Student,
Loma Linda University
* John Chung, MD, Physician, Dalton, Georgia
* Jay Gallimore, President, Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
* Ray Hamblin, President & CEO, The Hamblin Company
* Andrea Oliver, Esq, Judicial Law Clerk, New Jersey Judiciary
* Michael Orlich, MD, Academic Dean, Weimar College
* Alan Parker, Ph.D., Professor of Religion,
Southern Adventist University
* Magda Rodriguez, Professor, Ouachita Hills College
* Israel Ramos, Pastor, Houghton, Michigan
* Janice Watson, Former Professor of Communication,
Australia Youth Conference
The Australia Youth Conference is an unofficial training conference organised and run by members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia, which targets Adventist youth in
Australia. It's aim is to revive and inspire young people for mission work, provide inspired training for young people in soul-winning work and provide network opportunities for young people from soul-winning ministries. [ [http://www.australiayouthconference.org/ Official website of Australia Youth Conference] ]
The inaugural meeting was held on 23-26 February 2006, with a subsequent meeting on 15-18 February 2007; both meetings were held in
Melbourne, Australia. The 2008 conference was held in Sydney, from 14-17 February.
* [http://www.gycweb.org/ Official website]
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