Tim Blaum lives in Goshen, Indiana and is technical director at River Oaks Community Church. He is a 2010 graduate of Goshen College and is serving as technical director for youth worship at Orlando 2017. This post originally appeared at The Gathering Place.

Orlando 2017 will be my eighth convention in a row. That will make 16 years of my life that I’ve been participating in, serving at or planning for a convention in some capacity. One doesn’t just do something for 16 years if it doesn’t mean a lot to them. The first two conventions that I participated in were incredibly pivotal experiences as a young person trying to navigate my personal faith walk. Powerful calls to action from speakers like Brenda Matthews, Jimmy Carter, Mike Yaconelli and Toni Campolo, catapulted me into critical thinking about who I wanted to be as a Christian and a servant of the church.

Fast forward to San Jose in 2007, and I knew that I felt called to use my gifts to help make convention the same great experience for our youth that I found so beneficial to my formation. I’ve been technical production assistant, social media manager, res life staff (“go to bed kids!”), assistant to the Children’s Ministry director, and for the last two conventions, technical director. God has provided me great opportunities to pour back into this convention in a way that uses my gifts for great things! And I have no doubt that Orlando 2017 will be any different.

I may be biased, but I actually think this will be the best convention yet. Every year, the team who helps plan our worship services pours hours of prayer, discernment, discussion, laughter and hard work into seeking to meet our youth and sponsors where they’re at. This year’s theme of Love is a Verb could not be more applicable, right?

How are we called to be the beacon of Love in a world so rocked by visible examples of hate? How are we called to be the love that God calls us to be, to our family and friends, our neighbors and communities, our churches or even (gasp) our enemies?

I’ve now been a part of two worship planning gatherings, leading up to Orlando 2017, and the conversations we’ve had about this convention have been so uplifting. The hearts of those in the room during these sessions are keenly fixed on our theme. We’re motivated to spread love as servants of God. We’re energized to see our youth on fire for Christ and eager to get out into their circles to live their lives, loving all those who need it most. We desire to see our adults eager to build up the next generation of the church through their abundant love and support. We are, so excited to come together in July and learn what it is to live out Love is a Verb and I can’t wait to see you there! Come say hi if you see me around.