December 18, 2014

Decisions, Commitment, and a Broader Vision

Eighth Youth in Mission (YiM) congress concludes with many decisions for Christ and service in Mannheim, Germany

Posted April 24, 2014

Life is short,” challenged Pastor Doug Batchelor, president of Amazing Facts and one of the main speakers of this year’s YiM Congress in Mannheim, Germany, his audience, “therefore let’s not waste it.” Youth and young adults accepted this challenge during the final days of the YiM Congress: 67 decided for baptism; 58 committed to give a year of service to Jesus; and 12 accepted God’s call to prepare for full-time ministry.

[Photos: Dominic Zeh]In a culture of “maybe” and “perhaps” that is geared to convenience and entertainment the more than 1,500 young adults of this year’s congress set a clear counterpoint. In fact, the congress became a turning point for many. One of the participants wrote on a feedback form: “I wanted to strengthen my relationship with God and leave my sinful life behind me. Praise God! I had a wonderful time!” Another participant, who was no Seventh-day Adventist, said: “It was my first congress. I have never experienced anything like it before, but I was deeply moved by the speakers and the atmosphere.” Mannheim 2014 clearly resulted in a multitude of decisions for Christ.

Commitment marked another high point of the congress. 500 volunteers, roughly a third of all the registered participants, helped to make this event a reality. They served everywhere—preparing food, cleaning restrooms and showers, serving as ushers and security personnel, working with the audio and video of the congress, and helping in many other ways. These volunteers did not only pay the regular registration fee, they gave freely of themselves. Following the final sermon on Monday morning, they, together with other participants, moved 1,500 chairs back into classrooms and containers, swept 12,000 square meters of classrooms, hallways, auditoriums, and other spaces, and returned the school complex back to its original state—all in two hours.

Decisions and commitment are based on vision. Monday morning, YiM participants and leadership shared this vision. They decided to focus in the remainder of 2014 on making friends, because only friends can win friends for Jesus. Over the next two years (2015–2016) they committed to win their friends for Jesus, culminating in a special celebration during the 2017 congress. Hundreds of young adults committed publicly to reach out to their friends and give their best to bring them also to Jesus. Before they packed their backpacks and suitcases, they once again sang the theme song of the 2015 YiM Congress: “Lift up your heads, see Jesus our King.” It was a little foretaste of what heaven will be like.

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