The goose bumps appear on my arms and the back of my neck. I am surrounded by about 6,000 other young people as we worship God together. If you’ve never had the opportunity to do the same thing as thousands of people, in the same place, at the same time … do it! The “ghosts of my conventions past” are such small details of the whole week that simply stood out to me.
Having the opportunity to be on the planning committee for Pittsburgh 2011, I know the work that goes into convention planning. Just deciding the theme is a three day process! But I wonder if convention planners realize that the small details are what make Convention such a wonderful experience for all.
I remember, during a worship service, writing my biggest issue on a mirror and chucking the mirror into a wheelbarrow – giving the issue up to God for good – along with thousands of other problem-chucking teens. You wanna talk powerful?
I remember singing the “Mennonite National Anthem” (aka hymn #606 or #118), Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow. Tears flowed down my face as the four part harmony of 6,000 people flowed to the heavens.
Convention is an experience like no other. Often you find yourself in the middle of a bustling city, following people with similar name tags as you, creating secret operative plans trying to gain front seats at the worship sessions, and meeting people you will always remember.
The seminars also are a ghost of mine. The unexpected teachings that come from seminars allow people to open up, ask questions, and address some pretty tough issues that aren’t easy to talk about.
From my experiences, here are a few things I’ve learned about Convention that people may bypass:
Convention isn’t about hanging out with your youth group. Convention isn’t about the delicious food or the new and interesting city. Convention isn’t about seeing Jeremy Kempf live. Convention is about YOU. Convention is about your PERSONAL WALK WITH JESUS. Convention is about IGNITING THE FIRE in your HEART and allowing Jesus to be there. Often times, as Christians, we find ourselves in a sort of lull. We are following Jesus but we just lose the PASSION to want to follow Him. Convention reignites that passion and the desire to be His and to let Him shine through us – along with 6,000 other youth there for the same reason.
Convention is not an experience that can be put into words. You simply have to be there to see it, to feel it, and to believe it.
Join me in Phoenix in 2013! Gain memories and moments that will affect your faith journey!
Alyssa Cable is a 19-year-old from Johnstown, Pa. currently in her junior year Eastern Mennonite University majoring in Elementary Education. Mennonite Church USA is a big part of Alyssa’s heart and she is so excited to be blogging about Convention. She loves writing, playing guitar and piano, and laughing.