Photos: Collin Anderson, Becca Joy Root, Amy Root
The 2018 Action conference aimed to address, as one participant put it, “universal questions that all teens have been asking themselves”—questions about friendship, God and how to take effective action during the school year.
The conference, held April 4-7, brought together 137 students and 59 adults at the South Bend branch center. It was designed to tackle tough issues the high school students themselves had raised during last summer’s Action trips. In his opening talk, Program Coordinator Mike Wacker summarized what the students had said: “We want to be friends, but don’t experience friendship much. We want to grow in love of God, but the circumstances of everyday life control us and squeeze God out. We feel stuck.”
The conference’s talks, discussion groups, prayer times and practical workshops aimed to help the students get unstuck, addressing topics such as friendship, self-control, determination, the Good News, praying through the Bible, fixing relationships, scheduling, making college decisions and maintaining faith in college, and the ultimate key to effectiveness, the Holy Spirit.
Was the conference effective? In many ways, the jury is still out—”every tree is known by its own fruit,” as Jesus put it. But in a sharing at a branch meeting in South Bend junior Sean Pingel expressed optimism: “The conference . . . gave us specific direction in how to do what we wanted to do for God. . . . We experienced the Lord’s forgiveness, his joy and his power. As groups and individuals, we recommited ourselves to live for the Lord and with him.”