Ed. Note: The Christian Regional Youth Festival (CRY) is an annual leader development event usually hosted on a Disciples college campus. The CRY Cabinet, consisting of youth from around the region elected by their peers and adult sponsors, meets quarterly to plan and organize the event. CRY operates on the principal that youth are not being prepared for ministry someday but are being better equipped to engage in ministry today among their peers. Begun in the mid-1970’s, CRY has produced leaders who serve with distinction in their communities, congregations and the wider Church. This is yet another example of the many ministries that Mid-America Disciples support through giving to the Disciples Mission Fund.
Dear Mid-America Disciples of Christ,
Why is CRY important to the Disciples of Christ Mid-America Region? I sat for a while and contemplated how I would answer this, because there are so many answers to this question.
The Christian Regional Youth Festival helps promote leadership in the church. It brings youth together on a spiritual level, it shows them that they are important, gives them a sense of confidence - not only in the church but in normal day to day life - and it does all of this while allowing them to have fun. Although I personally find all of these aspects CRY brings to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to be important, I think the most beneficial part of the CRY Festival is that you are put in an environment where you can witness God in your peers and others, and grow closer to God.
In Genesis 1:27 "God created mankind in his own image", but before attending CRY, I had never really witnessed God in other people. We live in a world were evil sells. The news always shows evil stories, magazine covers preach about cheating celebrities, and even our school systems spend more time in history class teaching us about the evils of wars rather than the good deeds of our ancestors.
In a world like this, it's hard to see Jesus in others. But when you attend the CRY Festival, it's no longer a challenge because you can easily see the kindness, joy and love in others. So, is CRY important to MidAmerica Disciples of Christ? Yes, because there is nowhere else I've ever been or heard of that can demonstrate in four short days what God is truly about: love and acceptance of all.
Zach Pugh, 2015 C.R.Y. President