By Jackie Campbell
About 500 youth and their leaders attended SPARK last weekend, with at least 200 youth coming forward for a commitment to Christ, according to Conference Youth Director Renaye Hoffman.
There were 17 students that came forward for the call to ministry, she added.
“From my perspective, the event was wonderful,” Hoffman said. “The youth were fun, yet well-mannered and kind. The dodge-ball tournament was a lot of fun; karaoke was rocking as always, and the photo booth, which was a new addition to this year, was a hit. The Gaga ball pit was a crowd-pleaser as well.”
Hoffman said she was really excited about the addition of a follow-up piece to the event. Everyone attending received one of speaker David Nasser's books called Glory Revealed. It is a 30-day devotional to continue with mediations and prayer after the event.
“David Nasser's testimony of becoming a refugee from Iran and his message were attention-grabbing, even on Friday night when all the youth were super-excited,” said Hoffman. “The worship was excellent. Rush of Fools knows how to lead a group of youth in worship, they were popular with the girls AND the boys!
“Jared Hall is so funny and his illusions (some simple and some complicated) were awesome! He made tables fly in the air and he made it snow!
Hoffman said her weekend went well because the Youth Ministry Team showed excellent leadership. “They really took ownership of this event and worked really hard. I am proud of them!”
The YMT chair people for SPARK were LauraGrace Orner from Lakeside UMC in DuBois and Lexi Olson from Somerset Grace UMC. ,
Rev. Chris Kindle, the Conference Director of Discipleship, attended for the first time. He said the event was well thought out from beginning to end. “The speaker, band and entertainment were first rate,” he added. “David Nasser was a great speaker who was prepared and very easy to listen to. Rush of Fools did an excellent job leading worship, and illusionist Jared Hall was funny and appropriate.
The dates for next year's SPARK are Jan. 9-11, 2015.
See a slideshow of photos.