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Districts 2023

by Matt Hampson

This past weekend 31 students and 7 adults travelled to Green Bay for the annual Forest Lakes Districts Youth Conference. There were around 4500 total students and leaders at this years Districts.

Over the weekend, we had four main sessions called rallies. During these rallies there are video testimonies of students, worship, and a lesson from the main speaker, Dan Lian. The students really loved Dan and the messages that he gave. I heard time and time again how much the students got out of them.

On Friday night Dan talked about the parable of the lost sheep. The three takeaways were:

  • Jesus is the one who is searching after you.

  • Jesus does the heavy lifting. (Jesus is the one who carries you home.)

  • The greatest party in heaven is reserved for your return.

On Saturday Morning Dan talked all about our value. I thought this was the best talk of the weekend, because for teenagers, their identity and where they find value is so important. Dan gave three question and answers about how we can tell value:

  • Who made it?

  • How rare is it?

  • How much will someone pay for it?

The answers to each of those questions show our value. The answers to each of them for each person was:

  • Who made you? God made me.

  • How rare are you? You are one of one.

  • How much would someone be willing to pay to save you? Jesus. He paid it all for you.

On Saturday night Dan's talk was a charge to commit your life to Christ. He was honest about what following Jesus is like: he told the students that when you go back to school, you may find that following Jesus may be uncomfortable, inconvenient, noticeable, uncool, and permanent. This is such an important challenge, because often in weekends like this, students can have a spiritual high. But by talking about how following Christ is hard and that it's against what the world wants for us, I think it sets expectations that there will be moments when the Christian life will be difficult.

The last session was on Sunday, and it was a challenge that Districts is not the finish line, it is the starting line. Districts and the commitment students made to Jesus is amazing and life-changing, but it is just the beginning. When these students say yes to Jesus in their everyday lives, they may just change the world.

Along with these four main rallies, there were a variety of seminar options on Saturday afternoon. Some of the sessions that a good amount of our students went to were "Mental Health: Self Care is Soul Care"; "Healthy Relationships"; and "How to Share Your Faith Without Losing Your Friends".

There was also time for students to hang out at the hotel. Some students went to the waterpark at the hotel, some went to the arcade, and some played games. I really enjoy the downtime on these trips. Some great memories are made, and some good community bonding happens.

I can’t say enough about how amazing the students were the entire weekend. They made the job of the adult leaders who went so incredibly easy. They were well behaved, and they took the rallies, the breakout sessions, and the small group time following the rallies seriously.

I would also like to thank all the adult leaders who gave up their weekends to spend it with 3900 screaming teenagers. Each of them did an amazing job leading discussion and spending time with these students in various ways. This weekend would not have happened without each of you, so thank you David and Charissa Toeller, Kevin and Kim Kroboth, Crystal Greicar, and Beth Streicher.

Overall, this was a fantastic weekend, where hopefully these students were able to grow closer to God and take that next step in their faith.

Please be in prayer for our students to continue to run forward in their faith, and that they can take what they learned and apply it to their lives in school, sports, clubs, band, and whatever else they may be involved in.


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