Gifts and talents encouraged at youth gathering

The impact of hundreds of youth and leaders meeting in Edmonton may have a long-lasting effect thanks to organizers of Lutheran Church–Canada’s National Youth Gathering in Edmonton.

Throughout Saturday afternoon, eight workshops provided hands-on experience aimed at developing God-given skills, talents and gifts. For musicians, it was an opportunity to hone vocal skills under the director of Professor Joy Berg, from Concordia University College of Alberta. The choir workshop will also sing during the gathering. Budding instrumentalists, many bringing their own instruments learned about accompanying congregational song.

At one point in the afternoon youth armed with their digital cameras roamed the campus practicing the pointers provided by professional photographer Chris Bruer. When they gathered again in the breakout room, they shared their images on a large screen.

Meanwhile, youth leaders spent time with Rick Lawrence, one of North America’s leading authors and presenters on youth ministry. He shared basic principles of working with youth which the leaders can adapt for use in their congregations. Mr. Lawrence noted that any ministry with youth must be centred on Jesus.

Lynn Gergens led a breakout session on Christian dating

One of the most popular workshops, led by LCC’s youth specialist Lynn Gergens focused on dating and relationships. Scripturally-based and sensitive discussion included topics ranging from boyfriends and girlfriends getting along to setting limits and abortion. “I was amazed at how open they were,” admitted Ms. Gergens, “And I was thankful for the answers God’s Word provides to these issues.”

In the plenary sessions the “belonging” themes continued. In the morning speaker Joel Haberstock and Bible study leader Lynn Gergens explored the story of Jonah. They noted that Jonah was reluctant to deliver a message to Ninevah that would bring the people in the city into God’s family. Knowing Ninevah’s violent reputation Jonah ran the other way. Mr. Haberstock noted that we shouldn’t “exclude people before God does,” explaining that God wants everyone to be part of His family through Jesus Christ. “God has compassion on all people, not just the people we like,” added Ms. Gergens.

Saturday evening’s plenary session drew lessons from the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. The message to the youth was that sometimes we believe we don’t belong because of our sin, yet Jesus deliberately sought a conversation with a known sinner and died for us while we were still sinners.

The gathering continues Sunday with more breakout sessions, a plenary and worship service with preacher, President Robert Bugbee at Concordia University College of Alberta.

Posted By: Matthew Block
Posted On: July 4, 2010
Posted In: National News,

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