Day three of the National Youth Gathering and everyone is tired. Yesterday at Concordia University College featured a lot of physical activity, plus the temperature was cool and it rained. This morning at the plenary session it looked like a number of participants had spent little time sleeping Sunday night. But that’s what a youth gathering is all about. Actually, from my experience a lot of church conventions result in sleep deprivation!
My impression, with which many others agree, is that this is a particularly well-behaved group. That doesn’t mean they aren’t having a lot of fun and hearing some very challenging presentations. But I haven’t seen a lot of undue rowdiness or questionable behaviour. They listen intently (maybe some are just asleep!), participate willingly and a just plain happy to be here. The “belonging and believing” theme is very evident in the way people treat each other.
As I look around at all the young faces, many in their early teens, I realize these are the kids at risk of our nemesis “post-confirmation drop-out.” I think to myself, How many will still be at this level of activity in their congregations by the time the next youth gathering rolls around? I pray that the theme of belonging grows in their hearts so that they grow into their congregations as they mature. I invite you to join me in that prayer.