2010 National Youth Conference of the Church of the Brethren
Fort Collins, Colo. — July 18, 2010
Jim Myer preaches to NYC on the theme, “This Little Light of Mine.” After the sermon, the congregation were given glow sticks to break and wave, creating light in the darkness. Photos by Glenn Riegel and Keith Hollenberg
While many of the worshippers at Sunday night’s service were being challenged to discover their identity, there was no question about the man who was speaking to them. Jim Myer, a popular preacher among the Brethren and a leader of the Brethren Revival Fellowship, made it clear he was an old guy who appreciates the difficulties faced by young people today.
Youth today have more connections to the world through their many electronic connections. But Myer speculated that Alexander Mack, founder of the Brethren movement, would think that youth today have it much tougher than he did–“because the distinction between light and darkness seemed to be clearer in his day.”
Youth cheered, laughed, and applauded throughout his message, titled simply, “This Little Light of Mine.” After leading an impromptu singalong, he challenged youth to do three things: 1) Discover your light and connect to Jesus; 2) Guard your light and avoid the darkness; and 3) Share the light and increase the voltage.
Dealing boldly with difficulties surrounding materialism, sexuality, and other temptations, Myer used humorous illustrations from his courting days as well as solid interpretation of a wide range of scripture to make it clear that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the importance of youth to Brethren. The early Brethren, he said, rejected infant baptism because they trusted their youth to make the correct choice about when it was right for them to accept Jesus as their savior. Believer’s baptism is a sign that Brethren believe in youth.
Earlier in the service, Josh Brockway who is helping to lead spiritual direction at NYC, challenged youth in the midst of all the names they construct for themselves and in all their electronic identities to ask, “Where is God in all this?” and to make it their task to find God and themselves.
Throughout the evening, the NYC Band continued to teach new songs and breathe new life into old favorites. The evening concluded with lights brought forward to the worship center by a group of interpretative dancers, as all in attendance snapped glow sticks to life. Everyone’s little light was shining in the darkness, and not one was hidden under a bushel basket.
–Frank Ramirez is pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren
The News Team for the 2010 National Youth Conference (NYC) includes photographers Glenn Riegel and Keith Hollenberg, writers Frank Ramirez and Frances Townsend, “NYC Tribune” guru Eddie Edmonds, Facebooker and Twitterer Wendy McFadden, website staff Amy Heckert, and news director and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford. Contact email@example.com .
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