Youth Encounter Conference
장년을 위한 선교부흥회가 진행되는 3월 22일(금)-24일(주)에 다목적실에서는 청소년을 위한 Youth Encounter Conference 가 열렸다. Pastor Byung Ham 이 The goal of Gospel, God is Lame, God's will power 등의 주제로 말씀을 전해 청소년들에게 도전을 주었다.
집회에 참석한 청소년들이 받은 은혜를 다음과 같이 함께 나누었다.
Pastor B's messages on shame, guilt, and weakness hit especially close to home. Although it can be difficult to approach these topics and "boast in our weaknesses" within the church, I hope the Encounter Conference will serve as a starting point for All Stars to have more open discussions. Personally, as I reflected upon Pastor B's points, I was reminded of God's righteousness and unending love. He shows me grace when I least deserve it; a kindness that leads me to repentance.
- Hoyoung Lee – All Stars Staff
The youth conference was a break from the usual sermons and revolved heavily on the Korean American narrative and the scripture. Pastor B's preaching gave a peek into the type of narratives the students need to hear and will best respond. The theme of being a failure and a failed Christian resonated deeply as well as desiring blessings from people who are not God. God has plans for our failures & He gives us the only blessing we need.
- Won Cho – All Stars Staff
My name is Jennifer Hong and I am a Junior in Joshua Generation. Last weekend, I experienced God's word in such a powerful way at the Encounter Conference. Through Pastor Byung's raw words, I was able to identify the underlying sin in my heart that had become so normal in my everyday life. And the unveiling of my sin brought so much shame and guilt. Yet, something he said still rings in my ears, "The world tells us failure is not an option, but in our spiritual life, failure is the only option and the only open door to salvation.” God’s love is unconditional.
Even though I had received the gospel, I was still trying to contribute SOMETHING to my salvation so that I could feel worthy. I was finally able to let go of my pride and accept the beauty of the gospel which is that there is nothing I can do to make God love me any more or less.
Just as Jacob recognized his failure and sins, and came to know God as the greatest blessing he could have, and gained a limp, I came to a recognition of my weakness.
But despite this weakness, I will continue to fight to live out these truths I gained last weekend as I walk with a limp and am blessed by God.
- Jennifer Hong - Joshua Generation Student, Junior
Encounter conference was truly a blessing for me. Through this conference, God really spoke into my heart and reminded me of his omnipotence and his everlasting love for me. Going into the conference, I had no specific expectations for it. It just felt like a regular service but with more decorations. However, God is surely unpredictable and He always holds a clear purpose in everything that we do. Through this conference, I genuinely got to encounter God and it also served as an opportunity for me to reflect and remind myself of what it truly means to be a follower of Christ. One of the big reminders that I received during this conference was to “worship the blesser, not the blessing”. It may be very obvious, yet, as Christians, we have the tendency to focus on the blessings that we receive at that very moment rather than God, the blesser, who is always watching over us and providing for us despite our shortcomings. God works in numerous ways, and as humans, we can’t imagine. I am very thankful that I had this opportunity to serve and also grateful that this conference helped me to encounter God in moments where I least expected it.
- Beewon Cho - Agape Staff
As a staff member at the Encounter Conference, I had a very good change in perspective. I liked how Pastor B was very transparent from the beginning, about his background, and who he is as a person. I thought it was good for the students to have an example of a Christ-centered testimony of how Christ showed himself to someone outside of the church. A lot of these students are so engrained to that NOVA culture, and only see to the extent of the NOVA bubble, and having someone from a different area of life, and a different upbringing, come and share his testimony and preach the Gospel was a way to break out of that and see how big God is. It was so good.
- Daniel Kim - Joshua Generation Staff
Encounter conference was truly a blessing to see all of KCPC youth and adult ministries from Allstars, JG, Agape, 2E, and main KCPC KM working with each other to put this first time event together. With the massive amount of preparation and many moving collective parts needed it was great to see everyone working together in unison with so many ministries. Having all ranges of volunteers who helped make the event possible from the Pastors, Elders, 2E staff/praise band, small group teachers, and even students was amazing to witness showing that no matter how big our church is we are still able to work as one body for Christ.
- Joe Oh - Joshua Generation Staff
The Youth Conference was really rejuvenating in terms of my spiritual and mental health because of the sermon I heard on Saturday regarding social acceptance. The pastor spoke about how our worldly connections and our desperation to fit into the social norms really damage who we are as Christians. In relaying this message, he spoke about his experiences in the African American community; more specifically, the idea of being raised in a Korean household in a African American community. He felt as though he were a member of his African American group of friends, isolated from his Korean culture and heritage. Yet, every holiday when his family would unite, his uncle would remind him that he is Korean. Through this way, he would feel more and more culturally divided and less accepted by the Korean community. The same way, we are always trying to fit in to the “right” crowd, the crowd that gives us the most popularity, rep, and status. We are inclined to seek attention and we crave the acceptance that people around us can give. But instead, we should be focused on God and his kingdom. God is an almighty father who does not discriminate nor segregate. He is true to the faith
of Christianity and lends us his power and strength as we go through our lives. He embraces our differences and accepts us with open arms in a way that no human can. God is our culture, our heritage, and our bloodline. He is family and the way we gain our greatest form of acceptance.
- MiJin Cho - Agape Student
experience at the Encounter Conference was splendid. I learned that God loves us even though we may sin against him a lot. During the Encounter Conference, my heart became warm because I saw all my brothers and sisters in Christ praising and listening to God’s word. My time serving in the Encounter Conference showed me what’s it like to be close with my brothers and sisters and see how they love, want, and praise God. It opened my heart and saw that if I am ever spiritually low, I can go to a brother or sister in times of need.
- Joseph Yun - Joshua Generation Student, Junior
The Youth Conference would be remembered as one of my turning points in my spiritual journey. The sermons that pastor Ham shared with us truly worked its power in my heart. One reason his messages were so influential was because he was straight forward. He was not afraid to open up his problems in his life, and I realized so many problems that he encountered in his life appeared in mine as well. Having lived in many
countries like Korea, South Africa, and America, I also faced challenged where I had to change myself to fit into a certain communities. As a result, I could never really define my identity. One thing that Pastor Ham clarified that night was that my true identity is found in Christ. Even though I wrestle to fit into a new surrounding, my true purpose of existence appears when I admit that I am a sinner and Jesus died for me. Although I cannot remember every word, he shared with us in the sermons, I can still feel the Holy Spirit working in my heart ever since. Especially when my heart plans to commit sin, I can feel the Holy Spirit fighting me to stop what I am doing. And this guiltiness that arouses in my heart is the living testimony of the Holy Spirit. As I wrap up this testimony, I wanted to share that by God’s grace I have been trying to improve my spiritual life: reading the bible, doing less sin, and loving others etc. I give all praise and glory to God who allowed me to have thus experience. Although I probably will not meet Pastor Ham again, the sermons he shared that night will live with me forever.
- James Kim - Agape Student
This past weekend I went to the Encounter Conference at my church, KCPC. For this conference, they kept emphasizing to bring friends, so I figured I should bring one too. I was pretty scared though because I knew that this conference was kind of going to be a “serious vibe”, and I didn’t want to make my friends feel uncomfortable and out of place. Regardless, I still invited them anyways because I remember talking to someone,
and they asked me if I would rather make my relationship a little awkward or have them die in hell forever knowing you could’ve tried to share the gospel with them. While I was hesitant, this popped up into my head and I felt guilty, so I chose to ask three different people. Two of them said no, and one said “uhhh I don’t know, I’ll think about it”.
To be honest, I was pretty discouraged, but I haven’t been praying, so I thought maybe I should pray about this. Every day for a week I tried to pray, on my knees, for one minute, and as I prayed, I realized that I had to change my mindset. I was constantly praying that they would not feel awkward and uncomfortable, but what I should have been praying for was that they would be able to come and encounter God.
Later, it turned out that two of my friends could come. One of them was Christian and the other was not at all. So, the Christian friend came over to my house on Friday right after school and she told me that the other friend had texted her the other day and said, “I really don’t want to go, but Caroline really wants me too. It’s going to be so weird, I’m gonna feel so out of place”. Thankfully, my other friend was able to convince her to come, but after hearing this I was even more nervous because I didn’t want to be someone who was forcing someone else to do something that they didn’t want to.
Well, we all went and I showed them around the church and to my friends. I was really thankful because everyone was really goofy and chill, so my friends didn’t feel too awkward. The conference itself, they told me they enjoyed it a lot, which was like “phew”. Especially when the non-Christian, Indian one said that.
Something that really encouraged me was when she texted met that night and said “Thank you for inviting me. I really enjoyed it. I’m so glad I went.” This moved me a lot knowing that she enjoyed the conference, even though it was “serious”. We also talked about how funny the pastor was and laughed so hard together. But she also told me how she really liked the sermon which made my heart so happy.
After the conference, I realized that I need to keep sharing the gospel with them and keep them accountable. One big thing I think I have been struggling with is to live out the gospel to them. I need to show them, especially the non-Christian one what it means to be Christian and why it is so important. So, I have just been praying that I would be able to show her what the gospel is really about and how it has changed my life, so hopefully she can one day give her life to Christ too.
- Caroline Lee - Joshua Generation Student, Sophomore