More than 2,500 WELS teens, chaperones, and speakers will be arriving in Fort Collins, Colo., on June 28 to kick off the biennial WELS International Youth Rally. The event, which runs June 28-July 1, will be the largest youth rally since 2005 and is the largest gathering of WELS members for any regular event.
Attendees will hear two keynote speakers, including Rev. Jared Oldenburg who will be taking the stage for the first time with a presentation titled “I’ve Got Nothing.”
Oldenburg’s presentation addresses the idea that “we all enter the world in more or less the same immediate circumstances, but somehow our lives are so different. Why? We read about the characters in the Bible and their lives seem so, well, epic. Why isn’t my life like that? Why is my life so ordinary? Could it be that our lives are not all the much different at all?”
He says this is timely to discuss in America today. “It is really easy in America to obsessively compare ourselves with others. Other people are smarter, better athletes, prettier, or more successful. However, in our most important relationship with God, we are all the same,” says Oldenburg.
In addition to two full-assembly presentations, several breakout workshops are offered, designed to help teens face the challenges in their lives using God’s Word as a guide. Some topics include “My Superhuman Life,” which examines the popularity of super heroes through the lens of Christianity; “#lovewins, #lovewon,” which gives participants the spiritual tools they need to address the LGBT culture; and “Standing Up to Bullying,” which is becoming an increasing problem in a social media-driven culture.
“A youth rally is an awesome event because we have thousands of teens who can be encouraged and know that they are not alone. Here is a mass of kids just like them, who feel the same way, but more important, they have an awesome God who is always there and will always be there,” says Oldenburg.
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