As the week progresses at Momentum Youth Conference, Friday was another full day of activities and speakers.
Friday morning’s session featured Axis, a group that creatively teaches a post-literate generation via the medium of current popular culture. They defended the validity of the resurrection of Jesus by looking at historical eyewitness accounts and oral traditions, recognizing the event as the “hinge of history” and key element of the Christian faith.
During the day, students had free time for games, a Momentum Color Run, and inner city ministries for select youth groups.
Friday’s activities culminated with a concert of prayer, when students and staff gathered in McCulley Stadium on the Wheaton campus. In preparation for Saturday’s city ministry (where youth groups will have a chance to pray for strangers and witness to them) 2,000 strong lifted their hands towards the city of Chicago, east of Wheaton, and prayed for the thousands of lost souls there. With a goal of each individual starting up a conversation with five others in Chicago on Saturday, their goal is to share the gospel to 10,000 people.
Sean McDowell, a gifted communicator with a passion for reaching the younger generation with the Gospel message, spoke at Friday evening’s session. Following a session of worship, he tackled the sensitive issue of homosexuality with gentleness and truth.
Each year, Momentum takes volunteers from churches and organizations all over the country. Darla France of Lifetouch Ministries and Counseling Center is serving this year on the Momentum counseling staff, as well as leading breakout sessions on cutting, eating disorders, and addictions. She started Lifetouch Ministries 17 years ago and currently runs the business with her husband, Jeff, who joined her for the week at Momentum.
“I used to be an elementary school counselor but my dream was always to have a not-for-profit business of my own,” she said. “But I wanted it to be one where people could come regardless of whether they could pay or not.”
Her job is a rewarding one, she says.
“Every single day is filled with God’s purpose. It brings tears to my eyes because I feel like I get to climb a ladder way up to the window of somebody lies and God lets me peek in. I get to call out things once in awhile that God wants them to know…that keeps me getting up every day.”
She has a passion for youth as well, and a tender heart for their unique struggles in today’s culture.
“I used to be a youth pastor and I’m a therapist now but [me and my husband’ still love youth. [By volunteering at Momentum] we can still keep one foot in the door with youth ministry.”
“I really honestly feel like its a life changing week for kids,” she said. There’s a lot of hype that goes on here but kids will go home changed.” — by MariJean Sanders