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Friends for LIFE

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In churches across the United States, high school teens and youth groups are ramping up fundraising efforts so that they can join thousands who will come to LIFE 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. Expectations are high as youth sponsors retell the incredible stories of God’s manifest presence among those who engaged in LIFE 2007 at Orlando.

As a sponsor who attended the LIFE event in Orlando, I can tell you that the worship was filled with the Spirit and truth, the speakers brought life-changing messages and the teens demonstrated the depth of their love for Jesus through sincere, sacrificial service. I will never forget the incredible giving that took place to bless people in Africa. An entire shipping container was filled with supplies, while the offering of more than $100,000 included iPods, engagement rings and other gifts that spoke loudly of deep commitments to the cause of Christ.

Perhaps the greatest highlight for me was “the march of the nations,” as Alliance international workers carried their country’s flags into the stadium. Many of us wept as these faithful workers were surrounded by thousands of teens who prayed a blessing over them. Later, hundreds of these same teens committed themselves to be the next wave of workers taking the gospel to the nations and doing their part to finish the Great Commission. Please encourage your teens to make LIFE 2010 “the priority” for their summer plans.

And don’t forget to include a very important group of teens. Many MKs (missionary kids) would love to attend LIFE 2010, but face greater obstacles in getting there. Could your church youth group or district help remove financial challenges for the teens of our global C&MA staff? How about adopting a couple of MKs to come with your church youth group so they can make some friends for life? The Rocky Mountain District is doing this on behalf of several MKs and their families. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for us to connect MKs with their U.S. peers. We want to do all that we can to help them get to LIFE 2010.

While only eternity will show the full impact of this investment, we can help MK teens experience the joy of building lifelong friendships as they engage in LIFE 2010. I hope your church and district will step up to the challenge.

For more information, please contact Edna Mapstone at ednalifeimpact@verizon.net.

Dear Alliance Youth Worker,

Welcome to a new decade of youth ministry! It sounds like a long time—10 whole years—520 weeks, or 3,650 days . . . 87,600 hours to be exact. A lot can happen, and it seems like 2020 is forever away. But it will be here sooner than we think.

While I won’t even try to forecast what youth ministry will look like in 10 years, I can say with total confidence that it will be much different from how it is now. (If you don’t believe me, just think back to what youth group looked like in 2000.) So if the question is not, will there be a difference? Perhaps it’s better for us to ask: what will bring about the difference?

One event that for so long has been a real “difference maker” in The Alliance has been the LIFE Conference. For more than 40 years, LIFE has been a watermark event for youth ministries throughout the United States. Similarly, this year’s event in Louisville, Kentucky, promises to be a defining moment for the C&MA as we move forward into the next decade.

While youth from a majority of U.S. Alliance churches faithfully attend LIFE every year, I realize that many youth workers might be new to the event. Given the difficult economic times, I thought it would be wise to tell you a little bit about what you can expect out of this year’s gathering.

Who we are

The LIFE Conference is a large-group gathering of C&MA youth that happens every three years. The purpose is three-fold:

  • To introduce Christ into the “whole life” of the student.
  • To support the role of developing the youth ministry.
  • To expose God’s heart for the world.

These three values are at the core of just about everything that happens at LIFE—from the speakers we pick, to the seminars we create, to the worship band we choose. In addition, great pains go into making sure that we are in sync every step of the way with the overall mission of the denomination.

What we’re doing

This year at LIFE we are crafting some of the best general sessions we’ve ever had. The theme for this year is Collide. A lot of thought went into choosing that theme—we wanted it to express the intersection of life and our faith in Jesus Christ. As believers we live a life of constant collision. This is beautifully expressed in God’s Word through His very act of Creation, the Incarnation of His Son, our faith and the advent of the Church (which happen to be our four daily themes). That’s why we’ve chosen speakers like Francis Chan, Derwin Gray and James Grout, who will be sharing straight out of God’s Word and into the lives of your high school students.

Besides the nine main sessions throughout the week, there are hundreds of seminar options. The seminars allow for a more intimate learning setting that will enhance the large group experience. All of this, mixed with great bands (Hawk Nelson, Logan Martin, Trace Bundy) and the largest activity hall you have ever seen, will make for a rich experience for your group.

Where we’re going

LIFE 2010 will be unapologetically “too Alliance.” It is our hope that your students will walk away from this week with a stronger understanding and a deeper level of engagement with The Christian and Missionary Alliance. You will hear stories from all over the globe—stories of what God is doing as well as what still needs to be done. There will be challenges put forth and opportunities presented for your students to rise up and do their part in fulfilling the Great Commission.

It is our hope that those who attend LIFE 2010 will not leave the same. We pray (and have been praying) that your students’ lives will be transformed as they collide with the one true God—the One who has created them and who loves them unconditionally.

If you are planning on attending LIFE in Louisville, or if you are still considering whether your group should attend—let me add my two bits. As we get near the end of this decade, many will be asking, “Where was it that our denomination started to make its most recent steps forward in the advancement of God’s Kingdom?” The answer will be LIFE 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky, July 6–10, 2010.

I can’t wait to see you in July.

Blessings,
Jason Ostrander

Past Alliance Life Issues

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