The congress will bring together more than 1,500 youth leaders from around the world. Its stated goal is to equip, empower, and engage a generation of Spirit-filled leaders to pass on the legacy of the Reformation.
All Adventist world church divisions, unions, conferences, local churches, and educational institutions have been urged to mobilize their youth leaders for this life-changing event.
“I hope this congress will give [youth leaders] a spiritual push and the conviction that we can count on one another in the work we do,” said Inter-European Division youth director Jonatán Tejel. “We live in a very changing world, but I still believe that the youth will finish the divine mandate of taking the ‘good news’ [of God’s salvation] to the world.”
Tejel said that he is expectant about the possibilities of growth and innovation. “I would love to see openness to new ways of sharing Jesus; I would love to see creativity at work and to transform words and vision into action,” said Tejel, who served as a Youth Ministries associate director at the world church headquarters for 12 years. “I would love to see how we allow our young people to be the ones innovating and we are the ones supporting them.”
Reflecting on his experience as a youth leader, Tejel shared that everywhere he’s served, he has found strong, committed young people waiting for an opportunity to serve. “If we could cast the vision for the need of sharing the gospel with the world, not in the way we want, but in the way they can, I’m certain that their contribution would be more powerful than the contribution we can give,” he said. “Young people are not looking for fights among themselves but for an opportunity to have meaning in their Christian life.”
Adventist Church youth leader Gary Blanchard seconded Tejel’s assessment. “I am very excited, since this is a historic moment!” he said. “To me, it’s a fulfillment of God’s promise to send Elijah the prophet just before His return [in reference to Malachi 4:5, 6]. Elijah was a model and a mentor to young people, and he mantled them for ministry leadership. So I am excited to see what God will do through these Elijah-like youth leaders following this great event.”
Discussing his expectations for the event, Blanchard said he is hoping “to see a mighty insurgence of youth” as the youth leaders become equipped and knowledgeable regarding outreach and service initiatives available.
Even though, Blanchard acknowledged, young people see things differently across world church regions, he said the key is to remember the church’s message and mission. At the congress “we will be challenging our youth leaders, regardless of their differences, to rally behind our common mission and vision as a church,” he said. “This mission is to preach the gospel and to make disciples in the context of the three angels’ messages, and our vision is to urgently reach the cities of the world, setting up centers of influence and church plants.”
Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson expressed the hopes he has for the upcoming event and the church’s youth leaders. “What a special privilege and responsibility [youth] leaders have in mentoring and guiding our precious young people today,” he wrote in a message to event organizers. “I would like to encourage the youth leaders, as they move forward in their vital and challenging role, to continue relying on God for wisdom and strength. Encourage young people to focus on the Bible and prayer, and then guide them in putting what they have learned into action through service.”
Wilson told youth leaders this is an approach that God will bless “enormously.”
“May the Lord pour out His blessings upon you, empowering you through His Spirit and strength to carry out His calling today,” he concluded.
Follow the coverage of “Pass It On,” the Impact Europe Global Youth Leader Congress 2018, via Adventist Review Ministries on its various platforms starting July 31.