By AT News Team, Jan. 5, 2015: Hundreds of teens and young adults attending the Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) event last week in Phoenix, Arizona, distributed literature door to door on Friday and during the week prior to the event. The Adventist Review Email edition reported upwards to 80,000 doors were knocked on during the pre-event project and as many as 40,000 on Friday.
Perhaps as many as 5,000 people attended Sabbath worship at the event held at the Phoenix Convention Center, including many who are not teens or young adults. Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, spoke to the group on the evening of January 1, New Year’s Day.
Pastor Paul Ratsara, president of the denomination’s Southern-Africa Indian Ocean Division, taught a seminar on “Relentless Prayer.” He has been a presenter at each of the GYC annual gatherings for the last five years. His son and daughter-in-law are members of the organization’s executive committee, the Adventist Review reported.
Being a Christian means living a life that “rattles the world,” stated Natasha Nebblett, president of the organization, in her opening address. Young people are caught in a war between Christ and Satan, she said. For the world to take notice of this spiritual reality, young Adventists must allow Jesus to be fully in charge of their lives, Nebblett concluded.
Despite the large number of homes contacted by the GYC volunteers over the past two weeks, there was no evidence in the Phoenix news media that the general public took notice. Adventist Today checked the news archive of The Arizona Republic, the daily newspaper for Phoenix and found that the most recent item about Adventists was published October 10 last year and reported on Adventist schools in an article that covered many parochial and private education scholarships. A similar check done of the news archives of the television and radio stations in Phoenix found that most recent report mentioning Adventists was broadcast on December 13 by KTVK and simply mentioned at patient that had died at an Adventist hospital in Colorado.
GYC has become a very influential organization within the Adventist movement in North America, although it is an independent group not an initiative of the denomination’s youth department. There has been some tension between GYC and the denomination’s youth ministries leaders. Among other things this led to a change in the organization’s name from General Youth Conference to Generation of Youth for Christ with the initials remaining the same.
The event last week was the 12th annual conference for GYC. The first gathering was in 2002. The Adventist Today Foundation has published a 200-page history of GYC written by a young Adventist journalist which provides a behind-the-scenes look at the emergence of the organization and its impact on the lives of a number of young adults. The book can be purchased as an E-book through Kindle (Amazon.com). It is entitled Something’s Happening by Suzanne Ocsai.