As you are preparing for NYC, remember to also prepare yourself mentally and spiritually. If you spend time in spiritual preparation, your overall NYC experience will deepen significantly.
Set NYC goals:
Make a list of goals you hope to achieve during the week.
Take Time for Bible study and prayer:
Take time with your youth group to study the theme scripture so you can gain a better understanding of the theme before arriving at NYC. Spend time in prayer alone or with your youth group, focusing on NYC.
Participate in a commissioning service:
Ask your pastor about holding a commissioning service before NYC. The service could be held on National Youth Sunday on May 1 or at another convenient time. It allows your congregation to demonstrate its support for you. Share your expectations and what it means for you to attend.
Consider what signing the NYC covenant means:
By signing the covenant, we agreed to each be accountable to one another during the week of NYC. Reflect upon how your actions at the conference affects others. Talk about what it means to enter into the NYC community.
As a participant at National Youth Conference, I agreed to:
- Be sincere in my motives for attending NYC and to make foremost the goals of personal growth and Christian fellowship.
- Attend all worship services, small group sessions, and workshops (unless I am hiking).
- Not bring or use any alcohol, tobacco products, non-prescription drugs, or weapons while at NYC.
- Not participate in any behavior that endangers myself or others.
- Exhibit appropriate behavior and respectful behavior, attire, and language.
- Not be in the housing of the opposite gender at any time.
- Be in my room by curfew each night.
- Follow facility rules.
- Not leave the grounds of CSU except when hiking or on a service project and with the accompaniment of my adult advisor.
- Wear a face mask at all times except for when I am outside, eating, taking a shower, or in my dorm room.
- Adhere to other NYC COVID protocols as outlined by NYC staff immediately prior to the event. (I acknowledge that appropriate protocols for COVID cannot be defined until closer to July 2022.)
- Follow other rules set by NYC staff.
Think about the theme:
Colossians 2: 5-7 calls us to live our lives, rooted and built up in Jesus and established in faith. Throughout the week of NYC, we will explore what it means to be rooted and built up through our relationship with Christ. What imagery comes to mind when you consider God as our foundation? Maybe it is an anchor that keeps you in place when the seas are stormy. Maybe you see our foundation in God like roots, firmly backed under our feet and branching into everything we do. Jesus’ teachings are a great foundation for our lives. How are you living out those teachings in your everyday life?
Worship will give you opportunities to think about your faith journey. Allow yourself to think deeply about what the speakers share, and to truly enjoy the act of worshiping, not only as one person worshiping, bur as one worshiping with the people around you.
Take advantage of small groups:
Small groups provide a way for you to connect with youth from different areas and explore your faith together. It is also an opportunity to process worship services and what challenges, excitements, and fears arise from them.
Select workshops with care:
Many workshop topics focus on prayer, faith, praise, and Bible study. Look through the conference booklet to help select workshops that jump out to you.
Write about your faith:
Consider keeping a “faith journal” to help chart your spiritual journey during the entire NYC experience. What does the theme mean to you? Why is attending NYC important to you? How do you think attending NYC is affecting your faith? You can also go back and look at your journal in the future and remember your faith experiences and your journey throughout the week.
When you return home after NYC, the NYC staff hopes that you feel re-energized and ready to share your experience.
Reflect (alone and with others):
Think about the entire experience of NYC, from fundraising, to singing, to the words of all the speakers. What did it all mean to you? How did NYC change you? What did it mean to others who attended? If you have a journal, write some of your thoughts there.
Share with family and your congregation:
Since your family and most of your congregation didn’t go to NYC, help them experience it through your memories. What was meaningful to you? When did you feel God’s presence? Tell them about your reflections. Share your pictures, t-shirts, wrap up video, conference booklet, pillow, and any other items that will help you describe your experience. This will also be a good way for you to process all that happened during the week.
Ask your pastor how you can be more involved in the life of your local congregation. Your youth group could plan a worship service to share your NYC experience. Share your musical, public speaking, or other unique talents. It’s time to step up and live out your faith!
Stay connected with new friends:
Stay in contact with your new friends from NYC. Talk about how you can apply your experience to your everyday lives. How can you continue to bond based on your shared experience?