This post is shared with us by Director of Christian Education (DCE) Intern Kendra McNatt, serving the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) at Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfurt, Germany. Trinity serves the expatriate community in Frankfurt and is an English speaking church. Recently, the youth of Trinity attended a conference sponsored by The Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East (AICEME), which includes churches made up of business people, expatriates, diplomats, refugees, nationals, missionaries, and students. The churches are all English speaking.
On the weekend of October 31st to November 1st, something incredible happened in Limpertsberg, Luxembourg. Did you miss it? It wasn’t on the news. It didn’t go viral on social media. In fact, it probably didn’t even directly affect your daily life. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe it could affect you. So listen up.
What happens when 113 high school students and their leaders holding passports from 19 different countries and representing churches in 9 countries across Europe get together in one place for a weekend of worship, faith talk, service projects, epic scavenger hunts, not enough sleep, and too much caffeine?
Well, it looks something like this:
And it sounds something like this:
I’ll spare you the categories of smell and taste (trust me, the combined scent of wet socks, energy drinks, and a mixture of perfume/cologne/Axe that will melt your nose hairs is one you’d rather avoid).
The moment this weekend went from a casual “Cool” to an overwhelming “Incredible!” was on the four-hour bus ride home to Frankfurt. Turning around in my seat to face my youth sitting behind me, one of them said, “I think the best part of the weekend was seeing all of those other Christians my age. And it wasn’t weird or awkward. It was like it’s completely okay and normal to be a Christian.” To my students who take school-mandated religion classes where God is never mentioned and who cannot count a single Christian among their friends (not for lack of trying), this weekend was their reassurance that it’s okay to be a Christian. But it was so much more than that, too. This weekend, they were encouraged and empowered and challenged to define what it means to be a Christian teen and then live that out. Not only live it, but thrive in living it.
I told you this has an impact on you. So what is it? What if I told you that I believe that a group of 113 high school students and their leaders can change the world? Crazy, I know. Call it an over-exaggeration, if you want. But it’s already happening. Because when 113 high school students and youth leaders thrive in their lives as Christians, people take notice. The man on the side of the road who received free coffee and fresh fruit from some students on their service project saw it. The woman who received free hugs and flowers from another group of students felt it. The shy student who was affirmed by a group of his peers enthusiastically cheering for him knows it.
Did you happen to catch the words the students were singing in that video? Listen again, because this is the AICEME 2013 Youth Conference in a few lines:
I see a generation, rising up to take their place
With selfless faith, with selfless faith