In Bulgaria, youth conference inspires young people to be at the front line of service.
Published on: 11-22-2023
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bulgaria held a national youth conference November 3-4, at the International Fair in Plovdiv under the slogan “God’s Got Talent.” The event was organized by the church’s youth department.
More than 300 young people from all over the country took part in it, exploring their talents and their possibilities for serving God. The young people participated in workshops and were inspired by the sermons, organizers said.
More than 80 delegates from the Inter-European Division (EUD), who were attending the EUD Year-End Meetings, also attended the youth conference’s Sabbath (Saturday) service. A highlight of the program was the exhibition of the Union ministries’ departments of the church, which welcomed participation from the youth.
“This year, our goal was for every young person from Bulgaria to find their mission,” said Julia Krumov, organizer of the conference and part of the Bulgarian Seventh-day Adventist Youth Department. “And not only to find it, but to decide to start working from tomorrow. To be able to really find what they are strong in, what God is calling them to do and work in their local church.”
EUD youth ministries director Jonatan Tejel was a keynote speaker at the event. “The role of young people should be at the front lines and leading the church,” Tejel said. His observations from Bulgaria are that there is a strong core of motivated young people in the Adventist Church who are moving forward together and, every year, this group is increasing.
General Conference (GC) secretary Erton C. Köhler shared God’s Word through his personal testimony during the Sabbath service. GC vice president Thomas Lemon also inspired the youth during the afternoon workshop by telling his mission life story. Young people were motivated to discover their personal gift for mission. Valdimir Krumov, youth pastor at the Bulgarian Seventh-day Adventist Christian Centre VIVO, gave young people an opportunity to take a test to discover their own gifts for mission.
“I’m positive that what motivates young people is to have the opportunity,” Tejel said. “We should let them do what they are good at. To be free to express and use their talents in the way they feel comfortable.”
EUD president Mário Brito congratulated the youth in Bulgaria and shared his vision for the role of young people in the church. “I see young people as locomotives on a big train. They are full of powerful imagination, full of initiative. We must work closely with young people, listen to them, and this will help the church a lot,” Brito said.
Conference participants shared that they drew inspiration, motivation and a sense of unity from the conference, along with useful contacts and new opportunities for future development.
“I liked that we had the opportunity for so many young people to be together, see each other and communicate,” Ina Staneva, a youth participant in the conference and a Pathfinder leader, said. Also, “to be inspired for mission and participate in sharing the good news.”
Local church youth leader Bridget Mancuso agreed. “I think there is nothing more valuable for a young person than to grow up in such an environment. I have personally discovered a lot about myself, about my character and my talents, precisely through initiatives in the church, in which I was invited to get involved,” she said.
Tejel appealed to young people not to give up when they encounter difficulties or disappointments. “Remember that working for God is not a matter of what people around us say but a matter of our personal communication with God,” he said.