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Young People Left LIFE 2019 Awakened

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This is not just another article to read—it’s a story you’ll want to know. It’s a story that includes you, even if you weren’t physically there. It includes you because your prayers, financial gifts, and giving of your time helped change the stories of 5,500 young people at the 2019 LIFE conference this summer in Orlando, Florida.

Alliance President John Stumbo set the expectation that would permeate the conference in his opening address, saying “God is too good of an author to write the same story twice!” This message hung in the air as the truth of it sunk into hearts and minds and birthed a tangible soul hunger to experience the 2,000-year-old gospel message in new and powerful ways. Without you, LIFE participants would never have experienced their own stories being remade during their time in Orlando by the power and filling of the Holy Spirit.

Submitted Stories

You may know LIFE conference is a special place. It is not so much the location as the spiritual expectation. It’s an event that for 57 years has been a space where thousands of people submit the pages of their lives to be filled with the story of Jesus—the real story and the only story worth sharing. As part of His story, 333 young people and 94 adults received new plot lines as they answered the call into full-time vocational ministry or mission work. Two adult couples applied on the spot to be sent as international workers in 2021 after hearing the call to missions. As Anna, from Faith Alliance Church in Sidney, Montana, said, “I now have comfort knowing my future is in God’s hands, and I have nothing to worry about.” As an Alliance family we will continue to see many participants’ stories play out, and we can pray that we might play a significant role in their journeys.

A New “Brand”

As people like Anna and others confirmed, the world is constantly trying to get young people to commit their lives to their brand, product, or group by offering an identity or purpose in exchange for their time, money, or lifestyles. The pull from these groups is so strong because they need a new generation of consumers if they are to exist in the future. However, the Kingdom of Jesus doesn’t coerce or persuade—it invites! LIFE speaker Skye Jehtani preached an alternative message to the world’s brands by proclaiming, “God does not need you—He wants you.” This truth resonates deeply within a generation that seeks to be part of a movement that is more epic than an Instagram post.

Each day during the LIFE conference, 1,500 young people served at 41 different project sites. Photo by Mackenzie Carr and Sarah Stumbo

For decades The Alliance has sought to join God with what He is already doing in the world. We celebrate that we get to be a part of God’s perfect plan. As LIFE attendees were reminded, the plan to reach the world is not dependent on them because Jesus promises to build His Church—and He accepts them as they are without leaving them as they were by bringing them into community with Himself and His people.

He overwhelms us with compassion and His desire to include us in His mission. Seeking to carry that message forward and awaken this generation to the wonder of God, spoken word artist and activist Propaganda encouraged attendees with the vastness of God’s plan and purpose in the world, saying, “We are made for something so much bigger than the words I’m using to explain it.” He said this is exactly why we need a God willing to reveal Himself over the course of our lives and throughout history so we can see and understand His grander plan of redemption and our role in it. It reminds us to remain in awe of Jesus and look for another revelation.

As young people internalized the truth that God wants them to be part of His plan—and that He reveals their role in that plan throughout their lifetime—they quickly began to ask questions, such as: “What exactly does God give us to participate in the building of the Kingdom?” “I know I’m supposed to love God, but what does He want me to do?” “How do we know if He is calling us?”

Tim Meier, vice president for Development, answered those questions as he drove home the need for a daily filling of the Spirit if we are to actively participate in our new stories. Tim declared, “What is supernatural to us is totally natural to God in His Kingdom.” He emphasized this point by likening our lives to an iPhone: most people try to follow Jesus and live out their stories on “low power mode” without the full power to which we have access. But if this generation wants to see the supernatural norms of the Kingdom, they must turn off low power mode and live in the full power of the Holy Spirit.

At that point, LIFE conference stopped being the typical disciplemaking youth conference and turned into a deeper life conference. Thousands of teenagers came forward and prayed to receive a filling of the Holy Spirit, and hundreds more came to receive Christ for the first time as their Lord and Savior and experience the indwelling of the Spirit that makes them children of God.

Transformed Lives

Close your eyes and imagine 5,500 people yielding their wills and desires to the Holy Spirit. As you rest in that thought, you get the sense that Acts 2 isn’t just history—it’s reality. It’s the reality that all followers of Jesus are called as the Spirit of God is poured on His people. As the Spirit ascended afresh and filled thousands of people, the ministry of LIFE conference was no longer something for teenagers—but something teenagers were participating in as they encouraged, loved, spoke words of knowledge and truth, and cared about one another. It empowered them to go forth and serve the city of Orlando in love as 1,500 people a day were sent out to bless the city at 41 different project sites. If you know a young person who went to LIFE 2019, I am certain you are seeing the fruit of a life changed by Christ—evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Their transformation is the result of your faithfulness to Christ and participation in the Alliance family as someone who prays, sends, gives, or even goes yourself to LIFE 2019. However, your role isn’t done yet. You are invited to continue encouraging this generation to pursue Jesus and continue to yield their life to Him. You are invited to pray for, and engage with, the next generation so that they may continue to awaken others to life—and life to the full—with Jesus.

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