Youth rise to
By Kirk Noonan
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The place teemed
with thousands of teens, representing every species of the
13- to 18-year-old crowd, from Abercrombie & Fitch disciples
to skaters to urban hip-hoppers to standard-issue jeans and
The sheer number
of them inspired awe. But what sent chills down many a youth
pastor’s spine was watching them worship: hands raised,
eyes clenched, bodies swaying, lips dripping with praises
“To see thousands
of teens with their hands lifted is what it’s all about,”
said Tom Greene, the Assemblies of God’s national youth
director. “I know I should be shocked, but I am beginning
to expect this kind of worship from our youth. There is obviously
a hunger for God.”
Welcome to DC03,
a gathering of more than 13,000 teens and sponsors at the
50th General Council of the Assemblies of God. For four nights
in July and August, teens from around the nation were challenged
to live holier lives, make a positive difference in their
communities and to worship with abandon.
been a renewing with the Lord, themselves and with each other,”
said Rebecca Crowe, a youth pastor from Westernport, Md. “God’s
anointing is so strong on these teens it’s absolutely
Jim Wellborn, A/G
World Missions Ambassadors in Mission liaison, agreed. “The
kids are right there with the speakers,” he said. “They’re
so responsive and there is no end to their energy and zeal.”
Jeff Deyo, a worship
leader formerly with Sonic Flood, led the teens into intense
sessions of praise. With thousands of teens taking to the
aisles and the area in front of the stage, Deyo kept the crowd
purpose is to give Him glory,” Deyo told the teens.
“We’re here to worship our God. Your body, your
hands, your brain, your gifts and talents are made to worship.
They’re not yours.”
With that in mind
many of the teens hopped, pumped their fists, sang, knelt
at their chairs, prayed and shouted out praises.
week others worshiped by doing what they felt God had called
them to do.
Heather Joy Terhark,
a 17-year-old from Corwith, Iowa, came to Washington, D.C.,
to participate in the Fine Arts Festival. A talented artist,
she had undertaken an ambitious project to raise enough money
to buy a vehicle for a missionary by selling signed prints
of her work.
what God wants me to do,” she said as she sold her work
in the upper lobby of the Washington Convention Center. “I’m
giving everything to God and letting Him use it.”
During the opening
night service a personalized video message from President
George W. Bush played on gigantic television screens. As Bush
thanked the teens for coming to the nation’s capital,
hundreds of flashes from cameras went off throughout the hall.
Thomas E. Trask,
general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, also spoke
to the teens. He expressed gratitude for their commitment
to Christ and their desire to fulfill the Great Commission.
thrilled with what is going on here,” Trask told the
teens. “The church of today is sitting before me and
Jesus is going to continue to use you.”
evangelist and church planter Herbert Cooper encouraged the
youth to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit at one of
the gatherings. “The baptism in the Holy Spirit is for
you!” Cooper, a former college football player, shouted
at one point during his sermon. “When it comes to the
baptism in the Holy Spirit you can’t work it up, you
can’t emotionalize it. The Bible says it’s a free
gift that you receive.”
When Cooper gave
an altar call, scores of teens rushed down the aisles toward
the altars; others walked slowly, contemplatively. Hundreds
spoke in tongues as youth leaders and workers bobbed and weaved
through the throng praying with them.
was here for the same reason and that was to glorify God,”
said Kevin Frank, 16, of Glens Falls, N.Y.
has lit a spark in me,” said Gabe Hensley, 17, from
Kansas City, Mo. “That spark makes me want to see people
in my community getting saved.”