“Unity starts with the decision to
come together and be together.”
Colorado State University
is the hosting location of
National Youth Conference .
Photos by Glenn Riegel
View the 5,000 challenge video .
Video by Church of the Brethren
One call, 5,000 answers
It all began with one sentence. The room went silent. We knew that God had spoken.
We National Youth Conference coordinators were sitting around a table with the National Youth cabinet, praying and discussing what the theme should be for the 2014 NYC. We were talking about unity in the body of Christ, which would later become a central component of the conference theme. One of the cabinet members said, “We’ve inherited a divided church, but I want my generation to be different.” That one sentence gave word to what we were feeling and sent us in the right direction.
In the months since that meeting, we have struggled to understand what unity in the body of Christ means. What does it look like and how do we get there? Fortunately, God has dropped a few clues along the journey.
The first clue came in August when the cabinet joined us at Colorado State University (the venue for NYC) for our first on-site visit. We found out that CSU’s maximum capacity for summer conferences is 5,000. Soon afterward, we read the gospel story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people. That got us thinking…
What if 5,000 youth came to NYC next summer and we ran out of beds for everyone?
What a delightful problem! It might seem like a long shot, but if you had told anyone beforehand that Jesus was going to turn five loaves of bread and two fish into a feast for 5,000 people, they would have thought you were crazy! Often, where we see obstacles, Jesus sees opportunity.
So can we double the typical attendance at NYC this year? Yes!
We’re inviting every Brethren youth (and their friends) to come to NYC 2014 and join this journey of following Jesus together. Join the 5,000 Challenge today and find one youth to send to NYC 2014! Registration opens January 3 at 7 p.m. (CST) at www.brethren.org/NYC .
As a coordinating team, we haven’t completely figured out what unity looks like yet, but we do know that it starts with the decision to come together and be together. Brethren, of all people, know that is where we hear Christ’s call best.
—Sarah Neher, Tim Heishman, and Katie Cummings are the 2014 National Youth Conference coordinators. E-mail them with any questions at email@example.com . Support all Church of the Brethren youth ministries at www.brethren.org/give .
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Order your Advent devotional today at www.brethrenpress.org .
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Say yes to God
An Advent devotion by Tim Harvey
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).
Harold (“Red”) and Gladys Royer were commissioned by the 1930 Annual Conference as missionaries to Nigeria. In that day, Conference attendees waved white handkerchiefs as a farewell and a blessing as departing missionaries were sent off from Annual Conference.
The Royers’ journey to Nigeria meant many weeks of difficult travel by boat and land, to an uncertain welcome in a strange place. Customs, tradition, and language would all be new and unlike anything they had experienced in their lives.
The Church of the Brethren has always understood Jesus’ call to discipleship as one of sacrifice. Remembering Jesus’ own sacrificial death, Brethren know that saying yes to Jesus may involve laying down our plans, our possessions, and even our life.
Mary demonstrates a willingness to make a similar sacrifice when she says yes to God’s plan. Her entire future as a woman was connected to her ability to be married and have children. Becoming pregnant outside of marriage risked giving all of that away. And yet she knew, in spite of the unknown sacrifices to come, that answering God’s call would be a blessing.
At this time of year when we focus on gifts and donations, we would do well to ask, “How much of myself am I willing to give to God?”
Read this in full by ordering Good News of Great Joy at www.brethrenpress.org .
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Photo by Mary Jo Flory-Steury
“I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God's grace”
(Philippians 1:7 CEB).
The 2014 Clergy Women’s Retreat will be January 13-16 in Malibu, Calif., and is open to all licensed and ordained women in the Church of the Brethren. Melissa Wiginton, vice president for Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Seminary, will be our keynote leader.
Hope to see you there!
Register today at www.brethren.org/clergywomen2014 . Requests for scholarships may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Clergy Women’s Retreat Scholarship.”