The Christian Regional Youth (CRY) Festival concluded after a fabulous week at Culver-Stockton College in Canton on July 21. Ample participation from congregations in all four corners of our region brought together an incredible richness. It was also noted that this Festival was the most diverse also in several respects.
Rev. Brian Kirk, pastor of First Christian Church in St. Joseph brought, four engaging keynotes – with Dr. Seuss on the Leuss too. He animated the Festival’s scriptural theme: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think; then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NLT. This inspired the program theme of “Monkey See Monkey Do” where participants were challenged to not conform to this world but to transform our communities through the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Many workshops continued the message covering a broad array of topics on worship, faith, theology, prayer, testimony, and scripture interpretation. Others include sessions on sexual integrity, social justice and a presentation from three youth of the Chuukese Christian Church of St. Joseph, “Neighbors in This New Land.”
New this year was the inclusion of mission work to reflect the Mission First initiative in the Disciples of Christ. While painting a fence for seniors housing had to be scrubbed due to a questionable weather forecast, youth and adults found incredible experiences hearing the life stories of residents in a county nursing home, picking up trash and clearing trails near the Mississippi River, and writing letters of advocacy to elected leaders and candidates. Speaking of the forecast, all of our workers got soaked in the last five minutes when a torrential downpour hit – all made for great youth memories.
Many CRYers said the service work was a highlight and want this to continue as part of CRY. The elected cabinet for 2016-17 will add service work to their quarterly planning gathering. Sharon Watkins, our General Minister and President, has expressed personal interest in the CRY mission work as our general church plans and meets in December to discern how and in what ways mission will transform our church.
Amid all the fun and events, CRY coordinators were blessed to hear how at least two adults and two youth discerned a calling in ministry at the Festival. There is great encouragement for your church to consider CRY as an extension of your youth minister and leadership development and make plans now to attend next year’s event in July 2017. CRY Cabinet members will be present at the Regional Assembly and look forward to engaging in the service work as part of the gathering. Many thanks to Kris Milliron of First Christian in Marshall, our lead coordinator and all our adult sponsors for their leadership, presence and devotion.
Visit the Youth page for a listing of the elected officers and cabinet for the upcoming year.
Rev. Dr. Paul Koch,
Regional Minister Team / Youth and Outdoor Ministries liaiso