Every year each of the United Methodist Church Conferences hold their Annual Conference to conduct business, worship, and celebrate Jesus together. While the conference is not youth focused, there are youth present to give their opinions and voice. They are not the future of the church, but are current leadership in their local churches, districts, conferences, and beyond.
The group of students gather and participate just like their adult counterparts. Food is an essential part of Annual Conference and we enjoyed many meals together, sharing laughter, good, prayer, and conversation.
For about 8 hours during the day for 3 days straight, youth sat along side adult leaders, clergy and lay, to vote, discuss, and learn more about what is happening around our conference. Be sure to take note of the snacks and coffee!
One of the highlights of Annual Conference was the youth address. This inspiring moment in the midst of meeting was encouraging that our denomination is in good hands. These young people are confident, theologically and spiritually deep, and devoted to the UMC.
The youth representatives presented themselves in a mature, confident, and appropriate way – the adults at conference were incredibly impressed!
Ordination is a beautiful service celebrated at Annual Conference. It is a worship service full of hope for the future where pastors are commissioned and ordained to the work of the church. Many of our young leaders are exploring a call into ordained ministry and it’s important for them to see this service. In addition, they’ve been mentored by the candidates and enjoyed an opportunity to celebrate and support.
One special thing that the youth delegates do is a special awards ceremony and worship service on the final night of conference. This was the second annual awards ceremony, but having just met these kids, I had no idea what to expect. I was overwhelmed by their spiritual maturity, organization, and thoughtfulness. They put together a thoughtful and meaningful worship service that included music, reverence, prayer, a message, and celebration. Everyone who attended received a special award and while they were silly, they were received in an attitude of worship…and some silliness!
I was especially touched by how deep and mature these students are. They know about our Methodist heritage, they have a deep understand about the importance of worship and fellowship, and they are compassionate unconditionally. They are interested in opening up this worship service to the rest of annual conference and I am confident that they’d have an award for everyone who showed up!