“GODencounters opened my eyes to the fact that there’s so much we miss out on when we disregard each moment by dwelling on the past and future,” confided Beryl Quaye, an 18-year-old biology major at University of Texas at Arlington. “I’ve been thoroughly encouraged and uplifted by this conference. Now I feel strongly urged to make the most of each moment. Being present has become a life motto for me.”
For the second consecutive year, the GODencounters Conference was held in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Hosted at Younger Generation Church, www.YGchurch.com, hundreds of young adults came to the conference and experienced the KNEEL prayer room, encounters cafe, and nightly messages from Pastor Sam Leonor, chaplain at La Sierra University, Riverside, CA.
“Pastor Sam’s messages really resonated with me, especially the part about joy being a virtue of the faithful,” continued Quaye. “Since my dad passed away earlier this year, I’ve wondered whether I can really every be happy again. But now I know that it’s not happiness I desire—it’s joy. And knowing Jesus is the only way to achieve it.”
“GOD has used this conference to reveal a deeper level of intimacy that He is taking me to in our relationship,” raved legal assistant, Deanna Clardy. “GODencounters has been a soul-refreshing, life-enhancing experience I will never forget.”
Distracted by our regrets of the past and worries of the future, we too often fail to be where we are right now. The conference, especially Leonor’s talks, gave focus to Matthew 6 emphasizing “Be Present” as a call to enjoy GOD today, to dwell in His presence right now. Attendees were challenged to see what GOD is doing today, leaving the future and the past in His hands.
“Thank GOD for GODencounters!” exclaimed Jascilyn Same, an 18-year-old accounting major at Tarrant County College. “Attending GODencounters reminded me to take things one day at a time and not worry about the future because GOD’s already there.”
“Honestly, I was very nervous about coming to the conference, and was very undecided about attending until a friend invited me,” confessed Hope Wise, an 18-year-old student from Fort Worth. “But after the first session, I was very intrigued and I felt my fire for GOD reignited, and kept coming back for more.”
Broadcasting each session live on the internet, GODencounters welcomed thousands to the conference Saturday morning, enjoying three full worship sessions. Throughout the weekend, YG Worship led the attendees in heart-felt musical worship experiences.
“As we were led in worship with the song ‘How He Loves Us,’ I completely let go and allowed myself to be swept away in His presence and felt a peace that I hadn’t allowed myself to experience in over a year,” admitted Wise. “I was in tears, just sobbing because of how simple it really is. GOD loves me just because. I believe GOD used YG Worship to remind me that I don’t have to earn His love, I just have to allow Him back into my life so He can love me.”
Culminating the conference, Pastor Leonor shared a closing challenge and YG Worship shared a full concert debuting selections from their first full-length recording, “ALL IN,” which they released that very evening.
“The concert was absolutely amazing!” expressed Clardy. “Music has always been a burning passion of mine, and YG Worship sure knows how to fan the flames!”
“What I loved the most about the YG Worship concert was how everyone seemed to be so comfortable praising the Lord through songs of worship,” noted Same. “Hands in the air, voices lifted up—the Holy Spirit’s presence was definitely there.”
GODencounters is a movement of next generations pursuing a 24/7 experience of Christ Jesus. This year’s conference marks a decade of gatherings, expressions, and initiatives—all intended to deepen the devotion of young adults to GOD and challenge them to live for His renown.
“GODencounters, for me, couldn’t have been described better than the name itself,” reflected Julenne Gil, a 24-year-old, pre-physical therapy student from Oklahoma. “It was a time to encounter GOD—to be in His presence; not from afar, but in person—close up and intimate. I got to encounter Him on a more personal level.”
“This conference was amazing, I couldn’t ask for a greater blessing. . . I certainly felt GOD’s presence around me all weekend,” summed up Allen Tom of Houston, TX. “And the best part is. . . It was all for GOD.”
To obtain YG Worship’s debut album “All In,” and/or to view the GODencounters conference sessions on iTunes, go to www.YGchurch.com
For more information on GODencounters, a growing young adult movement that is celebrating a decade of recklessly living for GOD’s renown, go to www.GODencounters.org
Author byline: A. Allan Martin, PhD, is the teaching pastor of Younger Generation Church, www.YGchurch.com, the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church [TX].