More than 1,600 teens and youth leaders came together to learn and grow in God’s Word at the WELS International Youth Rally June 25–28 at the University of Tennessee—Knoxville.
The three-day event, organized by WELS Commission on Youth and Family Ministry, featured two keynote speakers and several optional workshops designed to instruct WELS teens about living with “No Fear” in God’s Word. The theme was based on Psalm 27:1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
The rally kicked off Wednesday evening and closed Saturday morning with worship services led by John Boggs, director of communications/mission advancement at Winnebago Lutheran Academy, Fond du Lac, Wis., and accompanied by the band Koiné.
The two keynotes, presented by Jon Enter, Hope, West Palm Beach, Fla., and David Panitzke, Shepherd of the Hills, Knoxville, Tenn., were themed “No Fear—The Lord Shelters Me” and “No Fear—The Lord Hears and Teaches Me.”
Rally goers took away important spiritual lessons from the keynotes. Karl Christie, 17, from Trinity, Waukesha, Wis., says, “I thought [Enter’s] keynote today was such an edifying experience, showing us how to put our trust in God in our daily lives.”
Shannon Reicherts, 16, from Prince of Peace, Flower Mound, Tex., says she learned that “God does stuff for a reason; you might not think he’s benefiting you, but he is.”
Noah Giebel, 16, from Bethany, Kenosha, Wis., shares what he took away from Panitzke’s keynote: “We can always learn from biblical heroes of faith, because they went through struggles like us. They sinned and made mistakes, but they overcame their struggles through trust in God.”
Drew Hiltzheimer, 15, from Messiah, Alpharetta, Ga., says, “I realized that no matter what the problem you’re facing in your life, big or small, God will be there for you.”
Boggs says, “This year, with the theme ‘No Fear,’ everything that we’re trying to do is to let [teens] know they are safe in God’s hands. That’s a big thing we want them to know because teenagers hear the other side of it—they hear they’re under attack. They hear that Satan hates them, that there’s temptations and shortfalls. We want them leaving here knowing that God loves them and that God is bigger than their problems.”
The next WELS International Youth Rally will be held in 2016.
Volume 101, Number 9
Issue: September 2014
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