“This is the only meeting that I’ve come into and sat through during this whole camp meeting,” said one PA Conference GODencounters participant. “I stayed outside the other meetings, but I feel accepted and welcome here.”
I feel accepted here. Intentionally creating a space for encountering God is a powerful, awe-inspiring experience – something you can sense when you enter a room. More than just another event, GODencounters is about carving out space in our busy, fast-paced lives to sit, face-to-face with God, and each other. As we do we realize an amazing reality: we are fully known and fully loved by the God of the Universe! It is this reality that changes how we live.
The size of the gathering varied during the weekend, and on Sabbath morning the Blue Mountain Elementary gym was packed with over 140 worshippers encouraged to “BE” (the title of Pastor Matthew Gamble’s message) in God’s presence.
Erich Mace and Frank Farkash led in worship, with songs old and new, welcoming participants to pour out their hearts as an offering before God.
The response was overwhelmingly positive to GODencounters. “It is hard to put into words the feeling I had as our young adults filed into the meetings through the weekend,” says PA Conference Youth and Young Adult Director Kris Eckenroth. “We had planned, advertised, and prayed for this weekend for so long. It was our goal to provide a setting where young adults from all walks of life could come and encounter the living GOD. The Lord brought a group of young adults who had a sincere desire to have an experience with Him. I believe that the Holy Spirit is moving among the young adults of PA and that GE 2008 was just the beginning!”
Pennsylvania Conference GODencounters 2008 concluded with a time of commitment and communion. Pastor Matthew Gamble, of vagabondservant international, invited worshippers into a time of reflection about what God wants to clear out of our temple – our bodies, minds and lives – for us to engage in 24/7 worship, making the correlation from the Biblical story of Jesus cleansing the temple in Jerusalem. These areas of our lives were written down and placed in the fire, powerfully symbolizing the ‘clearing’ that Jesus had worked in our experience together. Participants then received communion in stillness, as Erich played music quietly in the background. It was a simple and powerful experience to share in community, and many people were crying as they received freedom from God.
What a memorable weekend!
Lord, you have been in this from the beginning. All across the nation, and the world, gatherings like ours having taken place, making space for young adults to worship you in community and to encounter you as their GOD. Now we ask, please continue to show up and work in our lives, by your Spirit, in a way that only you can. We long to worship you with all that we are, with all that we have, with all of our time. We long for worship to be our way of life. Worship 24/7. Amen.
**Special thanks to Steve Christiano of G.A.D.G.E.T. Media for the pictures.