YouthQuest is a four-day conference hosted by Student Ministries, of IPHC Discipleship Ministries. Students and leaders will be challenged to live a life of true discipleship through powerful worship, inspiring speakers, and loads of fun.
YouthQuest also encompasses the National Fine Arts Festival, a celebration of creative gifts. The Festival builds community while providing a platform for students to develop their ministry.
The combination of both YouthQuest and the Fine Arts Festival has become one of the largest national events in the IPHC. It is our prayer that God will continue to bless those who are impacted by this important event!
In August of 1968 IPHC teens from across the country met in Bakersfield, California to compete in The General Lifeliners Talent Search and Contest, led by Director of Lifeliners Mr. Bane T. Underwood. Teens competed in Vocal Solo, Vocal Ensemble, Instrumental Solo, Instrumental Ensemble, Piano Solo, Organ Solo, and General Talent (talent, speech, reading, etc.) for a chance to win scholarships to IPHC universities as well as a feature in the national Lifeliners magazine “Reach”.
In August of 1981 the General Sunday School Department and Lifeliners Department were combined to form “Christian Education Ministries.” Lifeliners no longer had its own convention, however the Talent Search and Contest continued under the name Teen Talent. It was during this time that the precedent to host the event in different cities across the United States was set.
The name “Youth Quest” was officially adopted in 1996 under the direction of S. Paul Howell, Director of Church Education Ministries, Larry Harper, National Youth Director, and Don Niemyer, Director of Missions Quest (formerly known as SAM and SOWERS, later known as Global Quest, now The Awakening under World Missions Ministries). The event included Teen Talent, Bible Quiz, and Royal Ranger of the Year as well as night services and morning training sessions for both youth pastors and students.
The mantle of leadership was then passed to Michael Knight in 1998, who first brought Youth Quest to its most popular destination, Daytona Beach, Florida, in 2000.
In 2001 Youth Quest, under the direction of Steve Ely, was held in conjunction with General Conference, the quadrennial event which discusses and makes changes to the laws and leadership of the IPHC, in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was then that Dr. Doug Beacham was first elected to the National Offices as Executive Director of Church Education Ministries, with Dr. Harold Hunter as his assistant.
Between 2001 and 2006, Church Education Ministries began hosting two Youth Quest events each year, Youth Quest EC (east coast) and Youth Quest WC (west coast), with the Fine Arts Festivals hosted at each event.
2005 began the four year run in which Youth Quest and the Fine Arts Festival were held as separate events, each one held every other year. The ’05 Fine Arts Festival was hosted in conjunction with General Conference in our IPHC state headquarters of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Bishop Talmadge Gardner was then elected to be Executive Director of Church Education Ministries.
In 2008 the decision to host both Youth Quest and the Fine Arts Festival as one event was readopted. It was also in 2008 that Reverend Charles Boyd, then CEM Director of the North Carolina Conference, became the National Youth Director.
In 2009 Church Education Ministries was renamed to Discipleship Ministries, at the General Conference event in Greensboro, North Carolina
2012 was a tragic year for the IPHC, when Dr. Ron Carpenter, Sr. stepped down as Presiding Bishop of the IPHC due to health concerns at Youth Quest in Orlando, Florida. It was that year, in a historic vote that took place during Youth Quest, that Dr. Doug Beacham was elected as General Superintendent, Talmadge Gardner was elected as Executive Director of World Missions, and Thomas H. McGhee was elected to move from the position of Bishop of the Cornerstone Conference to Executive Director of Discipleship Ministries. The IPHC sadly lost Dr. Carpenter a few months later, after a long fight with cancer.
In 2015, after Reverend Charles Boyd took a position as Youth Pastor of the Goldsboro First Church in Goldsboro North Carolina, the decision was made to transition into a team format for Student Ministries, rather than a single Director position. The Student Ministries Advisory Team (SMAT) was developed after a series of meetings with conference Discipleship directors, local youth pastors, and conference youth pastors.
Currently the SMAT plans all Student Ministry related events, develops training and discipleship resources for local and conference leaders, and maintains a network of communication between student ministry leaders across the United States. ,
Today the Fine Arts Festival competition has grown to over 50 different categories, including Bible Quest and Talent Quest, with hundreds of students ranging from 13-19 years old competing on the District level, Conference level, and finally on the National level. Students who place in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place receive scholarships to our IPHC universities: Emmanuel College, Holmes Bible School, and Southwestern Christian University.
Youth Quest itself has grown to include thousands of youth leaders and students, all joining together to connect with each other, be discipled as they grow in their faith and calling, and to be resourced so that they may in turn reach others in their home towns across the United States. Services are held both in the morning and evening, with discussion boards known as FORUMS held during the afternoon.
The combination of both Youth Quest and the Fine Arts Festival has become one of the largest yearly events in the IPHC. As we move forward, we pray that God will continue to bless those that are impacted by this important event.