North American Youth Congress (NAYC). What an incredible event! 33,000+ teenagers, young adults, youth workers, and young ministers gathering in an area to worship the God that created all things. I am excited that it’s 2017 and that NAYC will be at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. I have attended the last four NAYC events, and I am so happy that many individuals are going to NAYC this year.
With NAYC approaching, this means that many individuals are posting videos, writing posts, or talking to the members of their youth group about this event. Many of them are giving tips that are helpful for one to know as they attend. I have seen a couple of those, and I enjoy hearing their various words of wisdom. With that in mind, I decided to share some of my tips that I would give to anybody who is attending NAYC.
1. Follow the directions of your youth pastor, senior pastor, or chaperone.
This is one of the most important pieces of advice that I can give. It is essential that you follow the directions of the leaders of your youth group. You are going to a big city that you are not familiar with, and the leaders of your youth group are trusted to keep you safe. If they tell you to be at the hotel at a certain time or to stay with the youth group, just follow their advice. It is better for you not to end up being the person that ruins the trip for everyone.
Even though you should follow their direction for your safety, you should follow their directions when you are in the services. Every service that you attend is an opportunity to grow. It is not just an opportunity to grow by receiving the anointed word form the minister, but to grow by ministering to others. Your youth leader or pastor will see opportunities for you to be that vessel that God moves through to impact somebody else and they will ask you to pray for others or even for them. Take advantage of that opportunity by listening to them because you will grow for your future ministry.
2. Bring a journal.
As young adults, we are trained to take notes because of school or places of employment. Some of us take that task and take notes during the services at our home church. We usually do this with our cell phones. However, there is going to be a time where those notes don’t transfer over to the iCloud, and you end up deleting them and never to see them again. (I lost some journal entries from a missions trip to Lexington, KY in 2012 and I still am disappointed that it happened.) To limit this from happening, I would recommend taking a journal with you.
As I stated before, every service you attend is an opportunity to grow. What ever session you go to whether it be young ministers, youth workers, Hyphen, etc. those speakers have spent time with God as they prepare their messages. With that preparation, God is going to speak through them. Their words are not just for that day session or that evening service, but it is for you to take in and apply it to your daily life. Take a journal and write down what God speaks to you through them, because you might need it later on.
3. Pray and fast.
The most important advice that I could give is just to pray and fast before you go. When you walk into that first service Wednesday night, you are walking into an opportunity for God to speak to you. It is important that you are spiritually ready to hear what he is going to say to you.
When you fast, you are going to be focused and you will take in the substance of God’s word that is coming through the voice of the speaker. When you fast, you should also pray that God will prepare you for what he is going to do at the event, Not only pray for yourself, but for your youth group. Pray that you guys will be protected as you all travel, but also have a great time. Finally, pray that your youth group will take what you guys have experienced from this conference and bring it to your home church.
If you are going to Youth Congress this year, you are going to have a blast! You are going to meet new people and make lifelong connections. You are going to make memories that are going to stick with you forever. You are going to be used as you minister to others. Finally, God is going to speak to you, so feel free to take advantage of these tips and make your Youth Congress trip one to remember. May you continue to increase in knowledge, love, and spirit.
(Photo was taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtt-E0wTaFc)