The 2009 annual PRC Young People’s convention is right around the corner! Trinity PRC will be hosting the convention August 17-21 on the beautiful grounds of Lake Williamson, Illinois. Are you planning to go? Maybe this is your first convention. Perhaps it might be your last. Whatever the case…are you ready?
For many of you (conventioneer and chaperone alike) the past few months have been full of preparation. There have been all the fundraisers you and your fellow young people were involved with in the past year. Perhaps you’ve had to work more overtime this summer to help pay your way to convention. If you live out of state you need to arrange transportation to Grand Rapids.
And then there’s the necessary planning immediately before you leave for convention. What do I need to pack? You look at the PRC Convention website and you see that you need to bring your Bible along. Don’t forget your ball glove. You’re going to need a towel to dry yourself off after a dip in the lake. Bug repellent is a must. If you plan on sleeping, a pillow and sleeping bag are required. Do you want a souvenir? Don’t forget to bring along a little extra spending money.
Finally, the list is checked off! We’re prepared! We’re ready to go!
Or are we?
If our preparation includes only the above mentioned items, we still would be ill-equipped. If our preparation consisted exclusively in having our registration money ready and our suitcase in hand…we would be utterly unprepared for convention this summer!
Without preparing ourselves spiritually, the convention will be an absolute waste of time.
So let’s prepare ourselves.
The first thing we must do is pray. Prayer is absolutely necessary if we plan to have a week of good fellowship with other believers our age. Before you leave for convention pray that God would grant that his name be glorified by the behavior of the conventioneers. Thank God that you have the privilege of attending a convention with hundreds of others of like mind and like faith. What a blessing! Pray that God would bless the word from the speakers so that all are built up and spiritually edified. Pray that friendships may be made, friendships that may last a lifetime! Pray that you, personally, may be holy and godly in word and in deed. Pray for divine guidance and care over all the activities of the convention. Has not God promised that all things work together for our good? Ask of God, and in the way of our asking him he is pleased to provide.
The second way to prepare spiritually is to familiarize yourself with the theme of convention. This year’s theme is A Church Gathered From All Nations taken from Revelation 7:9-10: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
The text gives us a description of the church of God from the beginning to the end of the world. Notice that the members thereof are “of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.” The church is catholic, i.e., universal! Jesus Christ is a universal Savior and Lord. He is not a Savior of one people, but of all peoples! Not of one kind of human being (poor and oppressed) but of all kinds of peoples! And with regard to this church, according to the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 21 you and I confess, “I am, and for ever shall remain, a living member thereof.”
These are the kind of people that surround you at convention! Yes, most of us are of Dutch heritage but you’d be surprised if you could look far enough back in one’s ancestry. Take time to meet others of the universal body of Christ at convention. Venture off into unchartered territory and strike up a conversation with someone who is different from you. Remove yourself from your close quarter of friends for a while and befriend someone from across the country. And this should be an easy thing to do.
Because you have this in common—you confess the same thing! What is this confession? Revelation 7:10 pictures to us this great throng crying out with one voice, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
In preparation for convention, resolve to speak to one another of the common salvation that belongs to the Lord, which he has freely given to us in Jesus Christ. Do that in your study groups. Do that in your devotions at night. Do that as you interact with others throughout the day.
Parents, help your young people prepare for convention. Help them prepare spiritually! Go over the rules of convention. Discuss with them the theme of convention. Impress upon their minds and hearts that convention is a time for spiritual fellowship! That fellowship may consist in games and activities, in eating and dining, in swimming and canoeing…but fellowship nonetheless.
Convention is right around the corner. Are you ready? Don’t forget the toothbrush. Remember the flashlight. But remember this—prepare yourself spiritually—and you will have a convention you’ll never forget.