On February 20-22 more than 850 youth and youth workers from the North Alabama Conference gathered for the annual “Encounter” winter retreat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
This year’s theme was “Revolution”. The general sessions we were lead by Ben Hardman as he used the “Be Attitudes” from the Sermon on the Mount, inspiring participants to join the Revolution that Jesus started. Ben also challenged the youth to live counter culturally and make Jesus the center of their lives in word and deed. Praise and worship was led by Candlefuse. OneTimeBlind revealed Biblical truths through dynamic drama skits.
The Encounter Retreat continues to grow year after year. The cornerstone of this event is the volunteer team of youth and young adults who put the experience together.
“The Encounter Team went above and beyond to provide our youth with more than an ordinary worship experience, but events that will Empower a New Generation of Christians. Our conference is grateful to have such talented and loving volunteers” says Nacole Hillman, who works in the office of youth and young adult ministries. “This team has a spirit of excellence and a spiritual maturity that gives depth to the event.”
In order to continue for Encounter to work toward the Conference priority of empowering a new generation the Encounter team has big plans for the 2010 event including relocating the event to make it more accessible to even more local churches.
Next year youth from throughout the North Alabama Conference will Encounter Florence Alabama! Yes the team bringing Encounter back to the North Alabama Conference.
“We want Encounter to be an event that gathers as many youth from the North Alabama Conference of the UMC as possible for a time of Christian conferencing,” says Robert Mercer who is a Connectional Ministries Consultant and Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator. “If this is our vision then it makes good sense to move the event within the bounds of our conference.”
The event will be held February 19-21, 2010, at the Marriot Shoals and will feature speaker Steve Case and worship leaders’ Lost and Found.
“We look forward to great things in the future with Encounter,” Mercer adds.