Wow. Although YouthQuest looked a little different this year, it was captivating and challenging for all who participated.
First of all, in case you hadn’t heard, YouthQuest is actually TWO events this year. The first event happened last weekend at the Heartland Retreat Center in Midwest City, OK, and was geared towards our churches west of the Mississippi. The second event, YouthQuest EAST, begins this weekend at the Cornerstone Conference Ministry Center.
At YouthQuest WEST, we were able to hear from the hearts of leaders within our denomination. We heard powerful messages from Josh Kestner, Bishop Scott Hampton, Meredith Light, Carolyne Smith, and Stephen Jones. As a joint effort, the Emmanuel College Conquest Worship Team and Southwestern Christian University’s “OneVoice” combined to create a single worship team to lead the congregation in worship.
Student Ministries favorite, Shama Mrema joined us as an Emcee for some late night fun. Every night of the weekend, he hosted a late night show where he interviewed students from the camp. This lighthearted comedy act was a crowd favorite, where many students engaged and responded with laughter. We also heard presentations from the YQ Sponsors, The Awakening, Emmanuel College, Southwestern University, and Falcon Children’s Home. In the climate of today’s world, we are constantly looking for ways to keep growing and connecting our students to ministries and institutions within the denomination, and hearing from these organizations and schools was the perfect way to do so.
Fine Arts was not a part of YQ this year, but that did not stop us from tapping into the creative potential of these students. In the afternoons, we held INSPIRE Labs as well as mentoring sessions to encourage these students to dive deeper into their ministry interests and giftings. Our sessions included Graphic Design and Social Media, How to Read Your Bible for All It’s Worth, How to Mentor and Lead in Prayer, Worship Leading, Leading Bible Study and Small Group, and Relational Evangelism: Seeing Your Friends Come to Know Jesus. We challenged the students to pursue the gift of God in their lives and realize how He wants to use them right where they are. God wants to use their passions to further His Kingdom.
Josh Kestner, a member of the SMAT, said, “It was so great to meet a lot of new students and adults at YQ West! God is building strength in these young people and has tremendous purpose for their lives. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the presence of Jesus alongside them during our time together in Oklahoma.”
The students also enjoyed their normal camp activities such as lake activities, swimming, 9-square, t-shirt tie-dying, button making, tournament-style corn-hole, gaga ball, slip-n-slide, and basketball.
We were also thankful to have DRUSA (Disaster Relief USA) come and be a part of our camp. They cooked all of the meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and worked tirelessly to make sure our students and staff were well-fed and well-served. The WEST event also served as a training event for DRUSA volunteers from the Great Plains Conference.
Student Ministries Team Leader, Stephen Jones, had this to say about this years’ event. “YouthQuest WEST was a life-changing event! Students from Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, and even Arizona showed up to encounter Christ at the Heartland Retreat Center in Oklahoma, and He met with us there! Not only did we have lots of fun meeting new students and leaders, but we also enjoyed worshiping together and hearing God’s word. It’s amazing to see what God can do when we come together as a body, even when we live so far apart–and it recharges my soul when I see teens surrender their lives to serve our Savior… YouthQuest WEST was GREAT!”
Pastor Stephen finished by saying, “Thank you to all the pastors, youth pastors, parents, sponsors, volunteers and leaders involved for making YouthQuest WEST so successful. We love you and can’t wait to see you next year in Jacksonville for YouthQuest 2022!”
If you would like to check out some pictures from this past weekend, CLICK HERE or the link below:
If you would like to hear our music video cover of “I Thank God” by Maverick City Music, CLICK HERE or the link below:
If you would like to view our YQ Notebook, CLICK HERE or check it out below: