Report by Rev. Marella Holmes, ABCNJ Associate Regional Pastor for Youth MinistriesSince 1972, the American Baptist Home Missions Societies hosts the National Gathering of American Baptist Youth conference every four years. IMMERSE 2012 was held on the campus of American University in Washington D.C on July 24-28, 2012. The conference theme was based on Romans 12:1-2 (MSG). The goal of the conference was to mobilize and engage American Baptist Youth to be disciples and leaders in their church, school and community.
ABCNJ had a delegation of almost 50 youth and youth ministers/leaders attend the conference. Regional churches represented at the conference were: Evergreen- Teaneck, FBC Kenilworth, FBC New Brunswick, Shiloh –Trenton, FBC- New Market, FBC Westfield and Mt. Zion-Newark. The delegation participated in daily worship, speaker presentations, small group discussion, back home small groups and dorm devotion. The highlight of the conference was two days of mission outreach in the Washington D.C. area. The ABCNJ delegation assisted the elderly with light food shopping and errands, gleaned collard greens for families in poverty, and fed children in the City Gate’s summer program.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to advocacy. A panel discussion provided the attendees with a broad array of opportunities to put faith into action. The panel consisted of community service agency leaders to recent mission trip participants. The region’s Reverend Ty Choate, pastor of the FBC Red Bank, was one of the participants on the panel discussion. After the panel discussion the conference attendees participated in a Prayer Walk on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
The day of advocacy ended with a powerful worship service encouraging the conference attendees to be a catalyst for change in their church and communities. At the end of the worship service almost 200 youth accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior and while others rededicated their life to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
The last day of the conference ended with an inspirational commissioning service which charged the youth and youth ministers/leaders to be ‘the hands and feet of Jesus Christ’ in their church, school and community. Praise God for a wonderful, enriching and powerful conference.