NAD Youth Ministries Department Hosts First World Prayer Conference Thousands Come to Dallas to "Claim It" in the Name of Jesus
Thousands of young people. Passion. Potential. Prayer. These are a few words to describe the first four-day World Youth Prayer Conference held at the Dallas Convention Center in Texas on Feb. 28–March 3. Approximately 5,200 delegates from all over the U.S. and 42 nations registered for the Just Claim It (JCI) conference and on Sabbath, the crowd grew to 12,000.
Some young people arrived a few days before the conference to participate in the Just Make Overs! Home improvement projects. Those who took part in this early outreach opportunity began the conference full of faith and ready to learn more about outreach and sharing the gospel.
The evening programs started with a praise and worship time, followed with a young adult speaker. The service would then conclude with an adult guest speaker who would affirm the faith of the young and challenge them to ministry, followed by a drama performed by Mimic Ministries of Columbia, Md.
During the day, more than 225 workshops were offered, ranging from puppet and clown ministries to youth ministries development, family issues and relationships. Many of the hands-on workshops spent the morning in training and preparation. The afternoon found the delegates putting their "faith into action." Clown ministries, for example, spent the morning learning how to apply the clown faces and working on a program for the afternoon, which they performed for preschoolers at the Martin Luther King Jr. Headstart Program Center.
Another group learned more about homelessness. Darriel Hoy, of Baltimore Adventist Community Services, led out in the morning sessions. The delegates prepared care packages in the morning and delivered them in the afternoon to the Dallas Downtown Union Gospel Mission homeless shelter.
During the Sabbath morning program, youth directors from all over the world were recognized as the Seventh-day Adventist Church celebrated 100 years of Youth Ministries. "As we celebrate 100 years, we've seen how the Lord has led in this department in preparing young people to meet Jesus Christ, in nurturing young people, discipling them so they can become strong Christians, and providing opportunities for them to participate in the mission of the church," said Baraka Muganda, youth ministries director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. "These 100 years indeed have led many young people to the cross of Calvary," he said.
A Sabbath afternoon parade featured in chronological order, from Genesis to Revelation, floats designed by Pathfinder clubs and academies. The challenge was that every float was carried by a bicycle. Creativity was not found lacking with floats such as the book of Mark represented by a fisherman's boat on a bicycle and a float of seven dragonheads representing the book of Revelation.
The conference closed with some thoughts from James Black, North American Division Youth Ministries director: "The conference is not just about drama. It's about trying to get youth to understand and see what's happening in the great controversy over [their] souls." He admonished the young people to "get connected to the Master" and to make prayer and salvation their priority in life. He also challenged them to continue their good works when they return home.
"There will be no closing prayer, because JCI does not end here," Black said. "We will pronounce God's blessing, but this is just the beginning for what will take place in your city, your school and your home."
Kristina Pascual, Texas Conference assistant communication director, with Melody Argueta, George Johnson Jr., Roxie Graham-Marski, Patricia Humphrey, and Diane Thurber.