Approximately 250 young people from around the Central States Conference converged on Omaha, Nebraska, for the CSAYYA Summit, the conference’s rebranded youth congress, on April 25. The summit, themed A Certain Sound, was a worship and music conference that provided not only a theological foundation for worship, but also practical training.
Pastor Damian Chandler, keynote speaker for the weekend, emphasized that God created us for worship, and worship isn’t simply what we do in church on the weekend, but what we do with our entire lives. Chandler, a gifted speaker and worship leader, challenged each individual to make worship the central theme of their life and spoke about the importance of removing the pretense of our routine and religiosity.
“God requires boldness inside and outside of the church,” said Chandler, who is also the keynote speaker for this summer’s International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Many young people responded to Chandler’s appeals and answered the call to give God their life. A chaperone who drove over eight hours from Colorado to attend the event said, “The high point of the weekend was seeing all of the young people respond the way they did to the appeal on Friday night.” This involved close to 100 young people coming down to the altar to give their lives to God.
Pastor Cryston Josiah, vice president of administration for Central States Conference, described it as “… a much needed move of God—like nothing we have experienced before among our youth.”
For over an hour after the Friday service ended, many youth and young adults stayed behind praying and singing, some kneeling and others prostrate before God.
Not only were the lives of Central States’ youth positively affected, but the community and surrounding city of Omaha were also touched. On Sabbath morning, delegates participated in community service projects and worshipped God through service.
Going out into the community is a major part of the summit each year. This year there were three teams that partnered with local missions and organizations, while everyone else fanned out into the neighborhood surrounding Sharon Church.
Those who worked around the church prayed for people and passed out Adventist Community Services Disaster Relief buckets filled with cleaning supplies. About 250 buckets were distributed over the weekend and delivered to some of the surrounding areas in Nebraska affected by the recent flooding.
The summit ended with the Summit Praise and Worship Experience. This concert takes place at every summit and includes local conference and guest artists, as well as a featured gospel artist. This year, attendees were blessed by the ministry of the Grammy- and Stellar Award-nominated gospel artist Todd Dulaney.
Dulaney, who was drafted by the New York Mets and spent five years playing Major League Baseball, left sports to give his life to full-time ministry. His heart for young people and the kingdom of God showed in the concert as he took time to modify his set to speak to and pray for the youth of the Central States Conference.
This year’s summit was an inspiring, informative, fun and Spirit-filled weekend. One of the youth attending exclaimed that “this was the best summit so far!”
The Central States Youth Department would like to especially thank Sharon Church for hosting the summit, diamond sponsors Oakwood University and Union College, platinum sponsors ASI and Mid-America Union Conference, and all the other sponsors. Thank you to all who volunteered, taught, sang, attended and prayed for the success of the event. Watch for upcoming information about the CSAYYA Summit 2020.
Kory P. Douglas is Youth and Young Adult Ministries director for the Central States Conference.