We recently gathered for the 2nd annual Interchange Youth Conference at Life Church in Kirksville, MO. Youth, ages 11-18, from churches located all over the Midwest and the coasts assembled together to seek the face of God, to be joined to one another, and to receive equipping for our local houses and communities. We entered on a journey together to answer the conference’s theme, Who Do You Say That I Am?
As everyone came together for the kick-off meeting, the feeling of expectation was palpable. Not only was there a desire to meet with The Lord, but also to get to know individuals and see what God was doing amongst our family of churches. Worship took off into high praise with great rejoicing and resulting in kids on their faces seeking God. Doug Kreighbaum preached an insightful message reminding us that the Lord is always at work in the earth despite how we may perceive things and taking us through a history of moves of God in the last 50 years encouraging us toward a family youth movement.
In days ahead, we would hear many different exhortations, messages, and prophetic words explaining and describing Jesus. The desire of the team leading these days was for the kids to come away with a revelation of Jesus Christ and a clarity in their own lives having seen Him. Messages describing Jesus as the Word, the Servant, the Holy God, the Big Deal, and the Resurrected Lord were vital to this and were received with humble hearts at the altar of God.
Worship was alive with youthful zeal as we ran the gambit of praise, declaration, and magnifying The Lord. As the kids marched around the room declaring King of heaven come down, spiritual walls were broken down. When Jeremy Pingel stood up and read out of Isaiah 6 declaring the holiness of God, children’s hearts were humbled and their physical bodies bowed low. God did such a powerful work in those altar moments. Lives were changed and courses corrected.
The leaders stood back in amazement when the Holy Spirit led us into apostolic moments. We realized at least 5 Nigerians were in the room at this little gathering in Kirksville. This sparked something amongst us and worship took on a flavor of African nature. We prayed for these young people and their nation which lead to praying for young people who have a missionary call on their lives. It was an incredible time with implications that we may not uncover for many years to come. The youth prayed for a family who is moving across the US to plant a church in Arizona. This family is taking a step of faith and this time encouraged our kids to see a picture of apostolic work and how they can be apart.
Knowing that moments gained in a God moment must be walked out in daily life, the conference had some time set aside for dialogue. One afternoon the girls gathered together for discussions and the boys went out to play. The next day we flipped that, and the boys meet while the girls went to Truman campus for a photo scavenger hunt. The discussion times was set up to allow the kids to ask questions about relational living and other such topics. It was a rich time together and very beneficial.
Knowing the times in which we live, it is vitally important for every generation to be on the alert with ears to hear and eyes to see. Interchange Youth Conference was time set apart for this younger generation to come to clearer understanding of Jesus and His work in the church and the earth. As the young people returned to their churches, our prayer is they will look more like Jesus by giving all of themselves to those around them. Our hope is they desire to serve the generation ahead of them and the one coming behind, and that they can answer the question of who Jesus is for those who don’t know Him. Sarah Dunn