Celebrating Prepare the Way’s 14th Christian Youth Summit
14 Years of Equipping Youth to Stand Firm
We are so thankful for all the volunteers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees who made our 14th annual Christian Youth Summit a success. It was terrific to meet in person again! It is such an encouragement to see hundreds of youth gathered, willing to spend their weekend asking tough questions and growing in faith. Many parents and ministry leaders also came and enjoyed the event. The Summit was held April 23-24, 2021 with hundreds attending from over 55 different churches in the Pacific Northwest. Of the students who attended about 58% were in public schools, 16% in private schools, and 26% home-schooled. Every year, it is so clear to us that the younger generation is in the thick of a worldview battle and that we need to come alongside them to help them stand firm. Here is a link to the YouTube videos of the entire Summit. Please subscribe to our channel. All of Friday night is called Opening, and everything on Saturday is titled Saturday Sessions.
Moving Testimonies from Teens
It’s the testimonies that keep us going every year. Handing out feedback forms at the end of the event gives us a glimpse of how the Summit impacts the faith of attendees. One 16 year-old wrote this, “I have never been to the Youth Summit before. As a teenage Christian in this world, it has been really easy for me to get caught up in the modern narratives and bogged down in the worldliness all around. These past days have been so spiritually rejuvenating, so I just wanted to say thank you.” Roughly 92% of attendees said they were excited to commit more areas of their lives to God and/or more confident in sharing their faith with others. Even though this event is geared towards Christian teens, it is important to understand just how many wrestle with important faith questions; in fact, this year’s feedback forms showed that 30% of attendees checked the box that said, “I consider myself a Christian but I really struggle with doubts and questions.” Each year, we also see commitments to Christ (25 at this year’s conference alone). It is a good reminder to parents, youth pastors, and ministry leaders to never assume where teens are at with their faith in Christ. They need loving mentors to pour into their lives. For more testimonies see below.
Speakers Delivered Empowering Talks
Dr. Sean McDowell (Biola University) and Stephen Williams of Prepare the Way delivered powerful keynote talks on critical topics such as the reliability of the Bible, a Christian worldview, healthy relationships, and standing strong in today’s culture. It was especially exciting to have Sean back again, as he is one of the youth’s favorites. The breakout session speakers did a terrific job of tackling a variety of relevant topics, providing a more casual atmosphere where attendees could engage in dialogue. M.C. Bryon Mengle of KNLR has been with the Summit for many years now and always keeps the atmosphere fun with prizes and games.
Teens Were Trained to Serve as Table Leaders
One unique aspect of the Summit is that the majority of youth sit at tables with Table Leaders who are trained prior to the Summit. Our leaders did an awesome job this year of engaging their groups in discussion, so that they could process the material and ask questions. We trained over 30 Leaders this year. Some youth and school groups attended together and the youth pastors or leaders led discussions. We are always thankful for pastors/leaders/teachers who attend with their youth.
The teens were also given some time to reflect and worship. Dan Price of Eastmont was instrumental in coordinating the youth-led worship bands with members from a variety of churches. The young people did a terrific job leading the attendees in worship – we love seeing the next generation come from across denominational lines and all praise God together.
Pray for Those Who Attended
As we described above, our surveys reveal that even teens who consider themselves Christian overwhelmingly struggle with doubts and questions, and are thankful for a place to wrestle with them. Please pray that those who attended would grow in faith and be empowered to impact our culture for Christ. Pray that they would be confident in sharing the hope of Christ with those around them.
Expressing Our Thanks
Every year, it is hard to put our gratitude into words. We praise God for letting us steward this event for 14 years now and for faithfully blessing it each and every year, despite challenges and obstacles. We are so thankful for the sponsors, donors, speakers, volunteers and Eastmont staff who have made the Christian Youth Summit possible. We are inspired by the youth who are hungry to be equipped and the parents who attend so they can engage in dialogue with their kids. Thank you for helping us continue the work of equipping the younger generation to stand firm in their faith so they can stand for truth in our culture.
Thank You to Our Sponsors:
High Desert Baptist Association; Eastmont Church and School; Calvary Chapel SE Portland; Community Bible Church Sunriver; Bend Community Church/Organic Church Network; Epikos Church; Father’s House/Buy a Tree-Change a Life; Classical Conversations;
Juan Young Trust; Brian’s Cabinets; Midstate Fertilizer; Tennant Developments; Friesen Foundation; Dan Cardot Bend Premier Realtor; Bend Family Dentistry; Kevista Coffee; Oregon Right to Life; X-Press Printing; Smart Solutions; Dynamic Arts Graphic Design;
If you would like to support the work that the Lord has called us to, please donate now. We are particularly praying for more monthly donors.
More Testimonies from the 2021 Summit
They are coming in daily, but here is a sampling:
“Sean’s talks truly opened my eyes and gave me a lot of knowledge to defend the gospel.” – Teen
“I have really been struggling with these topics and the talks really cleared things up.” – Teen
“There was so much New Testament evidence that I hadn’t learned about before.” – Teen
“In [Sean’s talk on Chasing Love], I learned so much about how the world defines love vs. how God defines love.” – Teen
“I really felt convicted this year about sharing my faith—you know what a person really believes based on their actions. The disciples died, were beaten, harassed, and humiliated because of what they believe. I shy away from sharing my faith because I don’t want to be ostracized or ridiculed….I want to be stronger with sharing my faith.” – 17-year-old attendee
“I think these topics are very needed and very important, specifically for the youth. As a 17-year-old, I found [the talks] very clear and engaging.” – Teen
“Sean’s Biblical insight about sex, relationships, and love was profoundly revealing.” – Teen
“Because my understanding of the evidence for the Bible was strengthened, my understanding of Biblical relationships was strengthened.” – Teen