We as Christians live in a world that is increasingly wicked. As young people, the pressure of the world’s temptations is always pressing upon us. From the temptations on our Snapchat accounts to the constant comparisons of Instagram, and everything in between, it is easy to see how this world is not so different from the days of Noah, neither is it hard to comprehend a desire to start fresh in a world where these complications do not exist.
While we cannot escape the world, and we cannot just delete the evil that we see in this world as God did during Noah’s time, we have something similar, to a smaller degree. This is the beauty of the Protestant Reformed Young Peoples’ Conventions. For one week out of the year, we have a time apart from the world, filled with a sense of peace, an opportunity for spiritual growth, and sanctified fun with fellow believers. There we can meet new friends, and enjoy time with the old ones, all the while growing together, as a body of believers, in our spiritual lives.
At the convention, we are encouraged to continue the good fight of faith. We all have our own unique concerns, but at the convention we especially see that we are not fighting our battle alone! There are hundreds of other young people who are experiencing the struggles and temptations that this world loves to throw at us. We can encourage those whose sword is faltering or whose endurance is weakening. We have a strength in numbers that we could not possess alone.
There to help and encourage us are chaperones and speakers, who bring the word of God through speeches and devotions. While we receive edifying words every Sunday, these speeches are directed intentionally toward us as young people, and therefore have insights from those who have already faced the enemies that we as teenagers are facing during this time of our lives.
The PR conventions have a central purpose in educating and encouraging young people in their spiritual lives. But there are so many social benefits that accompany this main goal. First of all, we have the opportunity to meet other young people who have the same beliefs as us. Oftentimes we have heard of the churches in other states, but we struggle to connect with them because we don’t know any of the people there. Because of the convention we can connect the faces of these brothers and sisters in Christ with the distant churches.
We also cannot forget the fun that we have with one another. The convention this past year did an outstanding job of making the games new and exciting. There was always excited talk of what entertaining game we would get to play that day. Between the race car derby and the inflatable slides at the carnival after banquet (that may have flipped by accident), excitement was never lacking!
Another great benefit is a different setting in which to get to know our ministers and other adult members of our churches. It is easy to look at these individuals in their positions of authority and lose sight of the fact that they, too, were young people and continue the struggle of faith as adults. At convention, it is easier to see adults who are in authority over us as friends and people to get to know and learn from as fellow soldiers of the cross. How often do we have the chance to get whipped down the toboggan hill by one of our ministers, or get to see another teaching young people how properly to launch a soaking sponge?
Convention is always an amazing week, and in my opinion this year did not disappoint. It is a week of encouragement in our spiritual lives. It is a week of godly friendships, Christian fellowship, and God-glorifying fun that we would be hard–pressed to forget.
Originally published in Vol. 78 No. 11