I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever spent an entire weekend devoted to God. But this past weekend I did. Along with our youth group, Callie and I traveled to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for Resurrection 2013.
“The idea for Resurrection was formed in 1985 at Camp Lookout by three youth pastors, Don Thomas, Hugh Kilgore and Steve Blakemore. Their goal was simple. They wanted to facilitate the Christian experience for young people in a new way. Less than a year later, the first Resurrection was held in Gatlinburg.
Rather than reach out to the individual, Resurrection, as it was named, became a collection of youth groups dedicated to worshiping in this different way, reminding young people they are not alone in their walk with Christ, and most importantly changing their lives forever.
Resurrection strives to be the premier Christian youth conference that brings youth groups together for awesome fellowship and authentic worship, where the Gospel is proclaimed, and youth have a spiritual renewal and a closer walk with Christ.” (taken from www.resurrectionyouth.com)
This event, geared toward youth in grades 6-12, is separated into two weekend sessions. It has grown so much over the years that it had to be divided to accommodate the nearly 12,000 people who attend each year.
This was Callie’s first year, so it was my first year as well as a chaperone. We had heard how it was life-changing, fun, exciting and an amazing opportunity to form a better relationship with God and to bond with our youth group in a whole new way. I must say, we were not let down. I was brought to tears more than once…sometimes because I was so moved by what I was hearing and witnessing and sometimes from laughing and simply enjoying those around me.
There are four sessions during the weekend. Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday evening and the final session bringing the event to a close on Sunday morning. We usually started with a fun dance to get everyone motivated (and awake!) and then on to the music by an awesome contemporary Christian band, The City Harmonic. This was then followed by the guest speaker, Lisa Yebuah. But before the band, there were several groups from various churches who performed songs or skits. I loved this part. Most of our youth today honestly get a bad rap. They are considered lazy, uncaring, rude, even selfish. But what I saw and heard from these teens this weekend kept my faith in their generation. Their God-given talents were used to honor God and encourage those in attendance.
It was also amazing to see the hands raised to God during the music and the young people walking to the front to show their commitment to Him. It made my heart smile when I heard conversations over the weekend confirming why we were there. It was a chance for spiritual growth. Our group left there with the wheels turning in their heads…how can we help change the world? What are we going to do with what we learned this weekend? They are ready to light a fire for God…an even bigger one! And I have no doubt that they will do it.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?Is anything worth more than your soul? – Matthew 16: 24-26