Teenagers shouldn’t expect a passive experience July 13–16 when they attend General Conference 2015 at the Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
“You have the choice to be challenged or not. If you want challenge to grow and challenge to actually make an impact and a difference in the world, we might be one avenue that will be a piece of the puzzle,” said Chuck Jewell — the lead pastor of New Creation Free Methodist Church in New Castle, Pennsylvania — who will oversee the teen program with his wife, Suzy. “We know we’re not the whole puzzle. We’re getting together for four days.”
But the veteran youth minister added that he regularly hears from people whose past experiences at youth events have left a lasting spiritual impact.
Although his local pastoral ministry now includes people across the age spectrum, Jewell continues to coordinate the Keystone Conference Youth Ministries (yaconline.com). East Coast Free Methodists may remember Suzy and him as youth leaders for the Overflow gathering five years ago in Orlando.
GC15 teen program participants will range from students who have recently finished sixth grade to teens who have just completed their senior year of high school. With registrations still coming in, the program already is set to have more than double the number of teens who participated in General Conference 2011.
Jewell emphasized the program will include “a lot of fun” and “some rockin’ worship,” but it won’t always be easy. He desires for the teens “to be the real hands and feet of Jesus.”
The program will include a daylong service project. Organizers currently are investigating service opportunities and locations in the Orlando area where the teens can have the greatest impact.
Jewell said the teens will pray for opportunities to discuss Jesus with people they encounter during the service project.
The teens also will participate in team-building initiatives such as low-ropes activities. Each initiative will help teens communicate with each other in new ways.
“It purposely puts people out of their comfort zones, and it shows us about being part of one body,” Jewell said.
Teens will spend a day visiting the Orlando headquarters of Cru (the U.S. branch of Campus Crusade for Christ) and Wycliffe Bible Translators. Jewell said the ministries include interactive exhibits that will help stir the teens’ passion for the gospel. They will learn of sacrifices that have been made to share Jesus with the world and to translate the Bible into different languages.
Speakers and Worship
Speakers will include Jewell, Free Methodist Church of Greensburg (Pennsylvania) Student Ministries Director Sarah Madden and her husband, U.S. Army veteran Michael Madden, who served in Iraq and has a powerful testimony of God’s redemption in his life.
The teen worship team will include Free Methodist musicians from different parts of the country. The worship won’t be limited to music, however.
“We’re going to learn how to worship God in all areas of life with reckless abandon,” Jewell said.
Go to gc15.org for more information or to register for General Conference 2015. To inquire about the worship team and other volunteer opportunities for the teen program, contact Pastor Chuck Jewell at New Creation Free Methodist Church, 724-654-7952.0