At IGNITION, the North American Division Young Adult Ministry Advisory [YAMA] convened. A recognized advisory to the North American Division Youth/Young Adult Ministries Department, this think tank of young adults, ministry practitioners, and professionals offers leadership and consultation to shaping the vision and direction of young adult initiatives based in the United States, Canada, & Bermuda.
With over 60 advisors in attendance in Dallas this past February, YAMA had a wide representation from across the division, diverse in age, culture, gender, as well as experience in young adult ministry. However, there was no lack of unity in the desire to deepen the devotion of young adults to Jesus.
Pastor Carolyn Macomber and Chaplain Roy Ice led YAMA in a time of consecration prayer, guiding the advisory on a prayer journey through the sanctuary. For some, this was an “unfamiliar” way to start an advisory meeting. Yet for many, it was one of the most significant experiences of the weekend.
Zane Yi, a PhD student at Fordham University, shared, “The highlight of the weekend for me was the consecration time the opened the young adults advisory meeting. Instead of a call to order, or reports of what different people were doing with there ministries, or diving into an agenda, the meeting started with a time of worship and prayer. We shared an extended time of confessing sins, singing/worshiping, and praying for the filling/working of God’s Spirit in our lives and ministries. There were moments where God’s presence was palpable in the room and I was overwhelmed with waves of emotions.”
Pastor Bill Cork, who is innovating young adult ministry in Houston, Texas, commented, “Something else that impacted me was Carolyn’s prayer service at the start of the advisory on our last day… During each round, as Carolyn led us through the sanctuary, we sat in silence, with only one or maybe two people giving audible expression to the prayers of their heart. I got the sense of some nervousness to begin with, as if no one wanted to be first, but it seemed as if we all settled into this. That we didn’t need to talk. That each prayer was truly voicing what we all had been praying in silence. It might not have been exactly what Carolyn intended–but it was what I needed.”
The remainder of the advisory was filled with reports, recommendations, brainstorming, and motions for building the momentum of young adult ministry in our division. Advisors shared in focus groups their evaluation of IGNITION as well as an array of initiatives including, Adventist Christian Fellowship, cat/a/lyst, Cruise with a Mission, GODencounters, Impact Taiwan.
There was a distinct energy in the room as advisors huddled together sharing ideas and input. Looking for ways to improve, constructive criticism was offered and appreciated. Seeking innovations, creativity was valued in conversations and all were asked to contribute.
YAMA serves as the activist arm to NAD Youth/Young Adult Ministries, volunteering its talents and resources to further develop ministry to those post-high school through pre-parenthood.
Minutes from the YAMA meeting have recently been released to the members, but the significance of this group is not found in perusal of agendas and voting actions. The development of programs and events are certainly some of the products of YAMA, but they pale to the significance of synergy built through prayer. These prayers continue long after IGNITION and the YAMA meeting, and it is intended that they continue without ceasing.
Bill affirmed, “And for the future … this just reminds me that prayer needs to undergird our journey together. That gatherings such as this aren’t just about meeting old and new friends (though that is good), or experiencing creative worship and good preaching (though that can be good). Rather, the heart of it needs to be, as Allan has put it, a GODencounter, with Him and in Him.”
For more information about YAMA or North American Division Young Adult Ministry, contact A Allan Martin.