Students at Momentum have shown an outpouring of generosity this week, raising over $18,000 for The National Youth Project offering. The money raised will be given towards the ministries of CPR-3, and Urban Hope, as well as Momentum scholarships for future students, and ON MISSION outreach initiatives going on this week.
These initiatives give youth groups the option of using their free time in between Momentum sessions to travel into the city of Marion and to Indianapolis to complete various work and ministry projects like building wheelchair ramps, distributing 400 homeless packs, and sharing their faith with strangers. An article about these outreach groups appeared in the Marion Chronicle Tribune on Thursday, entitled, “Youth Conference Becomes a Community Presence,” highlighting their impact on the surrounding area.
Thursday was packed opportunities for student growth at Momentum, starting with a wide range of PowerTrax sessions to choose from in the morning, including topics like, “What Do I Do with My Doubts?” by Tim Wright, student pastor at Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church in Winona Lake, Ind.; “What’s Heaven All About?” by Mike Hilt, pastor of students and community ministries at Grace Community Church of Willow Street, Pa.; and “Science and the Bible” by Dr. Don DeYoung and Nate Bosch of the Grace College science department.
The morning session featured a performance by spoken word poet Jackie Hill Perry, as well as video appearance of Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently imprisoned in Iran for his faith.
“The has Lord really put on my heart to be relentless,” said Abedini, who was scheduled to appear in person at the conference but was unable to attend. “My encouragement to you is to be like Daniel — despite hardships and trials, to not give up and see how God works when we are faithful to Him. We’re in a very hard time in our country and we need Daniels to be light.”
Sean McDowell, professor at Biola, part time high school teacher, and author of over a dozen books, took the stage during both morning and evening sessions on Thursday. During the morning session, McDowell focused on the intellectual side of the Christian faith, with a message outlining four reasons why a thoughtful person would examine Christianity as a valid religion.
“I want to equip you this morning to be more confident in sharing your faith with others,” he told Momentum students.
“There are no other religions that stakes its entire belief system on a single testable historical event. This makes Christianity different.”
During the evening session, McDowell returned to preach from 2 Samuel, using the story of David and Bathsheba to address the issues of sexuality, abuse, and temptation. Jackie Hill Perry also returned for the evening session with another spoken word performance and brief interview where she shared her testimony of a fatherless childhood and young adulthood filled with rebellion, homosexuality, drug use, and porn addiction. She spoke of how God met her in October of 2008, and how she has experienced healing and forgiveness by His grace.
“Don’t allow your temptations to govern your identity,” she encouraged students. “If you love Jesus, then you are not defined by what your temptations tell you. [But] love isn’t glossing over truth — that’s actually hate. The more we focus on knowing Jesus, the more we are sensitive to the spirit of God.”
Jeff Bogue, senior pastor of Grace Church – Bath Campus, Akron, Ohio, and the Jordan Howerton band concluded the evening by leading the congregation in a time of reflection and repentance, ending in worship and celebration.
“God wants you to experience the freedom of knowing Christ,” said Bogue. “That’s the power of the gospel – there is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus.”