Thursday, June 30, 2005

Young adults set an example

Many wondered what effect National Young Adult Conference (NYAC) would have on the young adult community within the Church of the Brethren. Would it begin to engage young adults on the fringes of church involvement? Could the whole church experience refreshment through the Spirit's movement in the young adult community?

Almost one year after NYAC, a gathering on Memorial Day weekend of 127 young adults provides an opportunity for reflection. Hebrews 10:24 provided the theme for the weekend of Young Adult Conference (YAC): “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds....” Sharing in a weekend of worship and fellowship, the gathered community “was the church” in notable ways.

First, it would be difficult to label those in attendance. There were singles and married couples. There were college graduates and those who didn't attend college. There were “liberals” and “conservatives.” Eighteen-year-olds chatted with 30-year-olds, who engaged a 55-year-old speaker. An engineer, a retired Marine, a young mother, a newly engaged couple, and a teacher talked during small group time. Many grew up in the Church of the Brethren, but there was a recognizable group of people being invited into fellowship. Basically, women and men at various places on faith and life journeys had a get-together.

Second, worship was the weekend's focus. Between gathering on Friday night and scattering on Sunday afternoon, the group shared in four formal worship services and observed two ordinances, communion and feetwashing. Additionally, there were multiple Bible study sessions, as well as an old-fashioned hymn sing and a campfire. If the definition of worship is expanded to include times when God is experienced through fellowship, the list of informal worship opportunities includes meal times, workshops, and late-night board games.

And that's “just” it. A diverse group of people shared in worship and fellowship. Faith grew, minds were stretched, and hospitality was extended. Wounds were healed and relationships formed. The next verse of Hebrews reads: “...Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another...” We're instructed to provoke one another to love and good deeds, to meet together, and to encourage one another. Can the church experience refreshment through the Spirit's movement in the young adult community? Isn't the answer obvious?

Becky Ullom,
Director of Identity and Relations

Source: July/August 2005 Tapestry Newsletter

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