When students from around the world gather at the International Youth Convention of the Church of God, the floors on which they stand had better be sturdy. As the worship begins, thousands of feet begin pounding the floors in time with the music. Keep in mind, it’s not your lazy, toe-tapping variety—it’s thousands of students jumping into the air, lifting their hands and their hearts to the Lord in worship. Yet a physical workout is not the only kind of fitness these students pursued while in Orlando in early July.
Over just four days, students experienced ministry intentionally geared toward youth. Worship is only one element of IYC that God uses to get students in spiritual shape. There were bands, highly-sought-after praise and worship artists, engaging dialogues, opportunities for service, conferences focusing on practical application, and much more. A few firsthand accounts give a glimpse into this life-changing, spirit-strengthening event.
Rebekah, from Mississippi, insists that IYC made a real impact on her life. She says “I learned to let go of all my plans and to let go all of my dreams and know that God loves me so much that he’s going to make sure that everything is okay. He’s going to make sure that he gives me the best life possible. I just have to trust in him.”
Ronnie, from Oklahoma, recounts that God spoke to him during the convention. He explains, “I would never have gone to this. I’ve been through hell and back. Coming here has helped me…everything I struggled with…it made it a lot easier to go through it.”
One of the events held at the beginning of IYC is the Prayer Walk, when students walk en masse around much of the convention center asking God’s hand to be upon the convention as well as on the general public. Jess, from Kansas, was especially moved by the silence: “It was crazy to see like five thousand teenagers quiet for an hour. I never thought I’d see that.”
Nearly two hundred additional comments have been posted to the IYC 2010 page on Facebook.com since the convention, all reflecting a growing passion for Christ that began during those four momentous days in Orlando. Stories of lives being renewed and hearts being surrendered to Christ have been circulating since IYC, including that of a convention center security guard who became a Christian after listening to the worship services. Five hundred fifty students indicated that they felt a call to vocational ministry. Fifty-three thousand dollars was raised for Spread the Word. Sixty thousand meals were packaged for disaster relief in Haiti. From the homeless to construction workers, from charities to childcare centers, God’s love was on full display through the thousands of teens that volunteered for Impact Orlando. These students will never forget IYC 2010 when their hearts were conditioned to love God, themselves, others, and the world.