By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
In a time where many young people are turning away from the Church, one ministry is hoping to convince them that a life with God in it can be an invigorating, exciting and eventful experience.
Turning Point Youth Ministry - the youth arm of NewBirth Church Assemblies of God, under the leadership of Pastors Bruce C Davis and Sheniqua Davis - is hoping to send this message to those who attend the Youth and Young Adults Awakening Conference which kicks off tomorrow.
"We are not ignorant of the fact that we are dealing with the most unchurched generation many nations, including our own, has ever seen," said Tavarrie Smith of NewBirth.
"It began with the millennials who started leaving the church, and now we have this new demographic of Generation Z who never came to church after the millennials left. A 2018 ChristianPost survey stated that 35 percent of Generation Zs are identifying themselves as atheist, agnostic or not affiliated with any religion - and we are seeing those same numbers here in the Bahamas. We want to introduce our young people to a God who wants to blow their minds, if they let him. We at Turning Point Youth Ministry plan to be unexpected and relentless in what we do as we go after a lost and dying generation, and that is what this conference is about, reconciling man back to his God," he told Tribune Religion.
The conference opens tomorrow night with speaker Pastor Sipho Mhlanga, a youth leader from Little Rock, Arkansas, who is known for his work with student and youth ministries.
Pastor Mhlanga is said to have a gift of taking dull scripture and delivering it in a contemporary way so that young people can embrace the word of God.
The conference's Saturday morning sessions will begin with morning glory prayer at 7am. Day sessions then run from 9am to 1.30am. Those sessions will be led by K Darren Turnquest and Zemi Stewart.
The sessions are expected to feature tips on relationships, bullying, finances, self-awareness, communication, navigating life as a youth and just overall youth empowerment nuggets. There will also be a special parent and youth leaders empowerment session where Pastor Mhlanga will give advice on how to effectively communicate and minister to young people.
A free concert featuring DJ Godson, Eman and Crew, Karrington McKenzie and Friends, Minister Alessandro Major, Kingdom Mime and the ReBirth Worship Band is also scheduled as part of the conference activities.
Youth services continue with Pastor Sheniqua Davis, and Youth Pastor Mhlanga will be ministering between the 8am, 10am and 12.30pm services.
The theme for this year's conference is "Undefeated Youth: Come Out of Hiding". It aims to awaken the God-given purpose and potential in youth, said Tavarrie.
"There is no shock and awe about the fact that many of our young people are not living their best lives. Some may say they are living a defeated life. Just look around this island and you will see the zombie-like gazes on our young people's faces, not knowing where to go or what's to come next. Many live in a state of hopelessness. Many more are caught up in gangs, criminal activity, poverty, abuse, and are victims of the social ills gripping our nation today. We at NewBirth Church are mindful of the struggles facing youth in our nation and did not want to host 'just another conference' filled with preaching and good music, so we've strategically assembled a group of speakers and facilitators to help us combat this mindset of defeat plaguing our nation's youth. Our aim is not just to inspire, but to let them know that there is hope in Christ Jesus - especially in a time when so many of them are turning away from the church. Our aim with this conference is to provide platforms for the spiritual and emotional healing of our young people to take place," he said.
He said they hope to create an atmosphere where young people can feel comfortable and receive relevant messages through dance, mime, singing, poetry and spoken word.