This past week, churches from around Wilson County came together with their youth groups to worship Jesus. It was an amazing week and God moved powerfully in the life of the Youth of Wilson. As a sit here the day after and reflect on the week, there are a couple things that I just loved about it.
The Whole Week Was Gospel-Centered
Every night was focused on Jesus. It was crystal clear to everyone the reason why we were meeting. It wasn't for fun, it wasn't for entertainment, it was solely for Jesus. The whole tone for the week was focused on the good news of the Gospel and equipping students to share it effectively. I loved getting to hear my brothers, other youth pastors in Wilson, preach the Gospel. I loved listening to Stephen Combs and his band lead us in Christ-Centered Worship. You can go watch the sermons from Youth Week here and see what I'm talking about. Jesus was the hero, not any one church or youth pastor!
The Week provided a sample of the Unity of the Universal Church
How rare is it to see youth groups come together in the same city to worship Jesus? In my years of life and ministry I have never seen something quite like what happened this week in Wilson, NC. Youth Pastors can be extremely territorial and often the attitude, particularly in small towns is Our church vs Your church. The attitude of the churches and youth pastors in Wilson are far from that. Each and every youth group that showed up this week proved that the Kingdom of God is not about any one church or one youth group, but that we are all a part of the Universal Church. We all have our local congregations, but it was amazing to come together for a week and get to see in just a small sample of what heaven will be like when we worship together.
The Week Created Authentic Community
Relationships were built with students. Relationships were built with the adults. We got the privilege of getting to know other Christians from other churches seeking to advance the Gospel in our community just like us. As a result, we made new friends and built a community that can better work together to advance the Gospel in the city of Wilson. Students met other students in their schools who love Jesus just like they do. It was awesome to see students hanging out and sitting with students from a different church. It wasn't cliquish, my church vs your church mentality, but humble and authentic Christian community.
The Week was Multi-Ethnic
I hate that churches on Sunday morning are the most segregated time in America. There are white churches; there are black churches. Even in my own city of Wilson, racism and segregation runs deep in the psyche of people, even Christians. I was so overwhelmed with joy with seeing white students worship with black students, eastern students worshiping with hispanic students. It was a multi-ethnic blend, and it represented far better the multi-ethnic worship in heaven than our severely segregated churches on earth. It demonstrates the unity and power of the Gospel to unite those who are different. We are all saved by the blood of Jesus and we can worship him together regardless of our ethnicity. Youth Week proved that.
The Week was Missions Minded
Whether giving food to the Hope Station, giving to the Wilson Pregnancy Center, or sharing the Gospel, Youth Week was missions minded. The whole focus of the week is that we must put our faith into action, and our students did that. It was amazing to see over 100 students go out into the city of Wilson to share the Gospel. Their passion and enthusiasm were intoxicating and these students proved to their city that they are not content just sitting on the sidelines of the Christian faith. These students demonstrated that the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus is something that they take seriously.
Youth Week was an amazing week, and I'm already getting questions about whether we will do it again next year. In my experience nothing has quite brought a community of students together quite like God did with youth week. For that I am thankful, and until next year may we continue to partner together to reach our city with the Gospel of Jesus!