Over 500 youth, young adults, youth ministry leaders, and parents recently converged in St. Louis, Missouri for the Central States Conference 2015 Youth Congress. Their mission was to power up through worship, sharpen up with ministry and life skills training, suit up for service to the community, and build one another up through fellowship.

Delegates shared the love of Christ with residents, tourists, business owners and public servants in creative ways. During the Amazing Race of Kindness on the Delmar Loop, youth serenaded shoppers on the street with poetry, prayed for business owners, placed coins in expired parking meters, and gave cookies to police officers, postal workers and librarians.

Participants learned how to be everyday heroes on God’s team in workshops and breakout sessions. Workshop topics included prayer, making godly decisions, becoming an entrepreneur, money management, interacting with the police, Girl Talk, Guy Talk, Pathfinder honors, parenting skills and developing youth ministries.

For Friday night and Sabbath morning worship, gospel recording artists Piaget Long and Robert Tribitt wrote and dedicated a theme song titled Young Heroes. Sermons by Pastor Michael Kelly II also emphasized the Young Heroes theme. In his sermons Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain America, Pastor Kelly challenged youth to make a difference in the church, in their circles of influence, and in the world. Twenty-five teens and adults became young heroes of faith by accepting Christ as their Savior.

Concurrently, Kids Kongress featured special activities for children ages 4-12. Coordinated by Teondra Lyles of Happy Choices, Kids Kongress was titled From Villain to Hero and engaged children with worship, music, community service, storytelling and more.

“Youth Congress wasn’t just an event; it was a leadership development opportunity,” explained Pastor Darriel Hoy, CSC youth director. “We’re equipping a new generation of servant leaders who understand that God is calling them to transform our world. By allowing God to live in them, our youth are young heroes who share the good news of salvation, stand for truth and justice, help people in trouble, and give our world hope.”

See pictures of Young Heroes: Youth Congress 2015 on CSC’s Youth Ministry Facebook page

Purchase Pastor Michael Kelly’s Young Heroes sermons.

This article was also published in the July/August 2015 print edition 0f OUTLOOK. It was written by Darriel Hoy, youth director for the Central States Conference.