Since 1988, United Methodist youth and leaders have gathered from around the globe. The tradition continues in Daytona Beach, FL in July 2023.
CHRISTY MILLER WHITE
Coordinator of Youth Initiatives, Michigan Conference
The first YOUTH event for the youth and youth leaders of The United Methodist Church took place in 1988. Since the early 1990s Discipleship Ministries has organized the YOUTH event every four years. This tradition will continue with YOUTH 2023 in Daytona Beach, FL, from July 25-28, 2023!
These events have changed the lives of many who attend and can be a vital boost to youth ministry in our churches.
The Rev. Amy Mayo-Moyle attended YOUTH 91 as a youth. She was chosen as a Conference delegate to NYMO, and it was determined that Amy and Cris Burdett should attend YOUTH 91. During her time at YOUTH 91, Amy answered her call to full-time ordained ministry. “The worship and [teaching] sessions were so inspiring. I’d been feeling a call for a while and during the closing worship there was an invitation for those feeling called to ministry to come forward, and I did.” Amy feels that it is very powerful to be in a giant space with youth from all over the world.
Pastor Bridget Nelson sees YOUTH events from the perspective of an experienced youth leader. Bridget thinks it is a great opportunity for the youth and leaders to see that they are a part of a larger movement. Unless you worship with a mega youth group, you may not have the opportunity to share this experience with so many youth all together and it is unique and transformational.
“It’s like a huge shot in the arm for your program – the kids that go stay fired up from the event for quite a while,” Bridget says, “They remember things that speakers said and experiences they had and songs they learned and bring those back to youth group in the fall. Be sure to get a group photo up in the youth room – you will find them looking at it and sharing stories even years later. Also, the way they organize the small groups ensures that your kids meet kids from all over the country. I have kids that are still in group texts from Youth 2019.”
Bridget also believes that one of the best things about the United Methodist Church is our commitment to service, and she understands the hesitation of taking a summer “off” from a service trip to attend YOUTH 2023. She struggled with this too, but she feels it is truly worth it! “These events are unlike anything else – even if you live somewhere that these large Christian events come through, this is so completely United Methodist that you can trust the content and leadership to be in line with the kinds of things you are doing in your church. The youth I have taken to these events enjoyed them 100%, and always looked forward to the next one.”
We would love to take as many youth as we can to Daytona Beach next summer. The youth delegates to Annual Conference will be raising money for busses and scholarships for YOUTH 2023 during our time together in June.
Mark your calendars! If you have youth who may be interested please fill out the interest form found here. Please contact the Rev. Christy Miller White ([email protected]) with any questions as we move ever closer to this transformational youth event!