By Dawn Garber |
August 25, 2003
School is out, and the students leave for home, jobs, internships and various ministries for the summer while Bethel College begins a new season of service. Even though summer break is a slower-paced time without the bustle of student life, the campus is still busy as Bethel prepares to host a variety conferences and camps. Last weekend finished this season's first conference—a two-week training seminar held for new Youth for Christ staff members.
Every morning, and during various breaks throughout the day, YFC members could be found relaxing or having quiet time near one of the ponds or gazebos. They enjoyed the beauty of Bethel's campus and the use of the chapel, classroom, dorm, computer lab, and exercise facilities. Shawn Holtgren and the Chapel Band led worship for several of the large group sessions, and Food Services provided meals in the Dining Commons. Many kudos were given for the efficiency of Becky Aldridge and the Special Events staff in the "smoothest start to a conference [they'd] ever had," and YFC's National Youth Guidance Director, Tim Butler, mentioned that he really appreciated the availability of internet access in the rooms and Bethel's hospitality to host this conference without the conflict of other camps/conferences being hosted at the same time. The coordination and cooperation of many departments made this conference a huge success, and YFC members are excited to return next year.
This year, the YFC organization presented their annual "Summer Institute of Evangelism" for the second time at Bethel. This twelve-day immersion in ministry preparation was designed to help YFC staff take some of their first steps toward a fulfilling ministry of youth discipleship evangelism. "Impacting young people today, so they lead the world tomorrow" is their continuing mission. Participants came expecting to be stretched and have their ministry skills sharpened for long-term effectiveness.
YFC provided a team of veteran staff and youth ministry specialists who challenged and offered time and expertise in helping the newcomers explore their calling of making disciples of this generation of teenagers. Through a series of large group classes and specialized breakout sessions, the team provided a richly integrated learning experience, linking the foundation of biblical and philosophical thinking with youth ministry practices. And, knowing that the fruitfulness of ministry is dependent on the quality of abiding relationship with Christ, large group and small group sessions alike invited participants to a deeper, more intimate walk with Jesus based on a theme from John 15:4, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in The Vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me."
Whether in large or small group sessions, building lifetime relationships, or deepening their walk with Christ, this year's YFC Summer Institute challenged and renewed another group of missionaries. Many thanks go out to each Bethel employee who served in helping this conference prepare the staff to train the young Christian leaders of tomorrow.
YFC Conference information from: