The 2014 edition of Momentum Youth Conference kicked off Tuesday evening with the opening session in the Edman Chapel at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.
Ed Lewis, executive director of CE National, opened the first session, addressing more than 2,000 students, youth staff, and guests gathered for worship and teaching.
“We’re committed to Jesus, committed to the local church and to the idea that young people can make a difference for Jesus Christ,” Lewis said. “We’re excited about this theme and we are excited that you are here.”
His introduction was followed by a student choir performance directed by Dave Rank, worship director at Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church in Winona Lake, Ind.
A rousing and colorful time of worship followed, complete with glow sticks and original music led by the Jordan Howerton Band, a midwestern band committed to fostering a passion for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ both on and off the stage.
“We don’t [lead worship at Momentum] so that we can say that this is awesome. We do this because we believe that the God of the universe wants to speak to YOU,” said bandleader Jordan Howerton. “We just want to set the table for what God is going to do in and through us this week.”
“Our goal as a ministry wouldn’t be complete if we just songs and let you figure out all the rest,” Howerton
continued. “Worship is more than just a moment. Worship is a lifestyle.”
Next, Jeff Bogue, senior pastor of Grace Church in Akron, Ohio, introduced the week’s keynote speaker: Kyle Idleman, teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church located in Louisville, Ky. He is the best-selling author of “Not a Fan” and “Gods at War,” as well as author and presenter of numerous video curriculum.
He talked about the concept of surrender as a mark of a true Christian.
“[As a child] I was taught to change my behavior but not to fall in love with Jesus,” he explained.
“The most miserable people I know are adult Christians…who keep one foot in this faith, one foot in the world and kind of live their life that way.”
“I hope that you are not just challenged to be ‘good boys and girls’…I hope you’re challenged to go all in for Christ.”
He garnered lots of laughs from the audience as he told stories of his childhood years in church, when he could recite all the books of the Bible in one breath — and then spoke passionately about the cost of following Jesus. He asked the question, “What did you have to say NO to to say yes to Jesus?” stressing that, “One of the ways that you know you’re following Jesus is if you’re uncomfortable.”
The session wrapped up with another time of worship, followed by individual breakout sessions.
This year’s Momentum Youth Conference is held this July 22 – 27 at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Il. Speakers include Kyle Idleman, Sean McDowell, Afshin Ziafat, Jeff Bogue, Greg Stier, and Clayton King. The event, sponsored by CE National, continues through Sunday morning.
For updates and pictures throughout the week of Momentum, like the Momentum Facebook page, follow on Twitter, or via email. To view a live stream of each main session, visit buildmomentum.org/follow. — by MaryJean Sanders