This past Saturday was quite a day. The Bishop's Rally for youth was held and we really "packed the house" at Noblesville First UMC. This event keeps growing and growing, and this year we had over 700 youth and youth leaders present. Once again the staff and members of Noblesville First provided wonderful hospitality. Our conference team, led by Helene Foust, did a great job. We had inspiring music from Yancy (a singer from Nashville, Tenn.) and from Gracie (the 14-year-old girl from the UM Church of the Resurrection who sings and raises funds to build wells all over the world). John Wesley (portrayed by Bert Kite) made an appearance, too.
I always enjoy the event. I get a chance to have my photo taken with the youth groups, and I also get to be interviewed in front of the whole crowd by answering questions the youth have submitted. Finally I am privileged to lead a worship service of Holy Communion to close the day.
It was a great event. All through the event we focused upon the words of Jesus, "You are the light of the world," and we talked, sang, prayed, and preached about what it means to bring the Light of Christ into a world that is filled with so much darkness.
For me, it is always amazing to see and hear the faith of our youth from all over the state of Indiana. They come from large and small churches; some are in the midst of confirmation classes, and all are so genuine in their desire to follow Jesus and to make a difference in the world. They are also very respectful and accepting of me, even as they are curious about "what is a bishop" and other more personal questions for me. And of course they have an amazing amount of energy – so much so that I come home tired but inspired by being with them.
But now we have a problem. It is a good one, but it is still a problem. If this event is to continue to grow, we need to find a larger venue. So our team is looking at college campuses and high school auditoriums. I am not sure what the result will be, and in many ways I hesitate for us to meet somewhere other than a church. But if this Rally keeps growing (it has doubled in size in the past four years), we must explore other options.
Please join me in praying for our youth, praying for God to continue to bless them, and praying for them to be the Lights of Christ they desire to be.