Photo by David Turner
What happens when 850 teens and youth leaders receive the vision to be relentless in seeking new life in Christ for themselves and others while also experiencing God’s relentless love? What happens when more than 50 young women stand in front of their peers to reveal God has called them to ministry, receive prayer from their peers and leaders, and then meet with the church’s bishops to explore that call?
Participants have all returned home from Colorado State University where FMYC 2017 was held June 26–30, but the conference’s impact continues to spread as teens share about the transformation, revelation and renewal they experienced while connecting with fellow Free Methodist teens from across the United States. FMYC lived up to its “Relentless” theme with powerful sermons, seminars, music, service projects, recreational activities, solo times and group discussions that helped teens discover they are called to live relentlessly for God in all areas of their lives.
Free Methodist bishops showed their lighter side by playing “Wheel of Fortune” in front of the teens and filming a humorous video (fmchr.ch/fmycbls) in which they lip-synced and danced in a car. They also delivered serious requests for the teens to pursue God’s will for their lives, and they reminded the teens that they were not at the conference by accident.
“We’re here because we are aware of something much bigger than our plans,” Bishop David Roller said during a prayer that he gave in both English and Spanish.
“You have a gift. You have a call of the Lord upon your life, and we ask you to, this week, explore that with the Lord,” Bishop Matthew Thomas said.
“Our anticipation is that God will speak to gifted young women as well as men,” Bishop David Kendall said. “If the Lord calls you, we will be among the first to encourage your gifts.”
Phil Manginelli, the speaker for the evening services, expressed appreciation for the bishops’ “opening the door to the equal calling that rests on women to minister the gospel in Jesus’ name.” Instead of delivering his prepared message June 27, Manginelli said he felt God calling him to speak on overcoming fear and then added, “If you’re a girl, and you’re in high school and you know you’ve got a calling to minister the gospel, will you stand up?”
More than 50 teen girls responded, and then other teens and youth leaders gathered around them to pray for them. The girls dined the next evening with the bishops and other Free Methodist leaders for further discussion of their calling.
Morning messages were delivered by Roller, Alicia Baker of International Child Care Ministries (childcareministries.org), Melanie Wise of Mercy Multiplied (mercymultiplied.com), and Pastor Brian Warth who shared his transformation from prisoner with a life sentence to founding and leading Chapel of Change (chapelofchange.org), a rapidly growing Free Methodist church in California.
Greenville University’s Pursuit served as the main worship leaders in collaboration with the worship team from Iglesia Centro Familiar de Adoración – a Free Methodist congregation in Lota, Chile. Visit fmchr.ch/gupchile for more information on this international worship team. Detroit’s Alive City also served as the guest worship band for part of the conference.
FMYC included uplifting entertainment. Lacey Sturm, the former lead singer of the platinum-selling rock band Flyleaf, performed a concert in which she spoke extensively about her faith. Tommy Woodard and Eddie James — known on TV and YouTube as the Skit Guys — provided comedy relief one evening following the worship service.1