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Prayer Congress Directs Youth to “Salvation and Service”

By Taashi Rowe

Veronica Slack, 9, is shown sharing her testimony alongside her father, Benjie Slack and Manny Cruz, North American Division associate Youth Ministries director.

Though she was hundreds of miles away, Veronica Slack who attends Potomac Conference’s Capital Memorial church in Washington, D.C., decided to be baptized after watching, over the Internet, the Just Claim It 2 (JCI2) youth prayer congress in Columbus, Ohio. While it is impossible to say how many others were similarly impacted by the five-day event, thousands of young people from around the North American Division (NAD) stood ready for “Salvation and Service” at last month’s JCI2. With prayer at its core and youth leading in many segments, the NAD Youth Ministries event was designed to train young people for effective ministries of their own. JCI2 combined the Youth Ministries Leadership Summit, the Just Claim It 2 Prayer Congress, Ignition—God-encounters for Young Adults and the Children’s Worship Festival sponsored by the Ohio Conference.

Calling the different activities at the congress “filling stations for spiritual growth, training, motivation and encouragement,” Pastors James Black Sr., NAD Youth Ministries director and Manny Cruz, NAD associate Youth Ministries director, noted that delegates filled “their spiritual cups through prayer initiatives, community mission projects, evangelism outreach, teen preaching/testimonies, mass choir/orchestra, workshops/seminars, recreation and a Sabbath youth rally and parade.”

Vincent Dehm, youth pastor at Allegheny East Conference’s Miracle Temple in Baltimore, said many of the 23 youth he brought were more interested than he first realized in filling their spiritual cups through service.

Dayna King (17), Tevin Carter (17) and Kellie Dehm (18) found a service session reaching out to juvenile offenders life changing. King noted that he could have been one of those offenders if he had not accepted Christ.

Understanding that a strong prayer life leads to strong service, Ann Roda, Family Ministries pastor at Chesapeake Conference’s New Hope church in Fulton, Md., coordinated various prayer experiences while in Columbus. One of those experiences included placing four massive boards in the convention center for young people to write their prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. “Most people need to feel and touch and hear Him before God becomes real,” she said.

Ironside Ortega, a youth leader from the New Jersey Conference’s Elizabeth (N.J.) Spanish church, brought 16 youth for training because “we have a new generation of youth getting ready to take over.”

One was Priscilla Perez, 13, who teaches kindergarten and Vacation Bible School. “I learned a lot,” she said. “I went to the puppet ministry class, and I’m excited to do that in my church.”

Paul David Spradley, a youth leader at Allegheny West Conference’s Hillcrest church in Pittsburgh, put his leadership training into action while at JCI2. He stepped in when he realized there was no one to lead a drama seminar.

Guest speaker Eddie Hypolite summed up the week’s meetings in his Sabbath sermon warning church leaders not to make the church’s doctrines a yoke and a burden. “We are teaching the traditions of men … as commands of God. But the centrality of who we are is Jesus. Jesus is not a doctrine.” 

Photos by Bryant Taylor, Gerry Chudleigh and Billy Wright.

Tontalaia Wall and Dallas Gordon from Columbus,Ohio participate
in the Bible reading Marathon.

Youth knock on doors in the neighborhood to share Jesus.

James Black, North American Division Youth Ministries director
(in red shirt) shares how God has worked in his daughter, Stefani’s life.

Terry Dodge, returned Pathfinder leader for the Michigan Conference,
leads the investiture service for 21 Master Guides.

Vincent Dehm, associate pastor at Allegheny East Conference’s
Miracle Temple in Baltimore, leads the seminar “Diversity—Closing the Gap.”

Ann Roda, Family Ministries pastor at Chesapeake Conference’s
New Hope church in Fulton, Md., appeals to youth to make a full
commitment to Christ.

Pine Forge Academy’s drama team performs the play “Home.”

Rashad Burden, an Allegheny West Conference member and
student at Andrews University (Mich.) preaches on Friday night.

Laffit Cortés, New Jersey Conference Youth Ministries director
encourages delegates to build teams that will enable them to minister
effectively to this new generation of youth.