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The People of Praise Responds to Recent Press
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July 11

The People of Praise Responds to Recent Press

Over the past few weeks the People of Praise has received a great deal of attention in the press. Here, we aim to correct the record and provide clarity on a few important points.

Action Conference 2018: A Shot Through the Heart

Morning sessions included general talks and discussion.

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.

On Saturday afternoon each discussion group created a poster to help themselves grasp and remember major themes of the conference: growing in friendship with one another and the Lord, and taking responsibility for concrete steps to answer the Lord’s call on their lives.

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.”

Saturday evening closed out the conference with a prayer meeting.

A workshop on reading the Bible led by Nick Holovaty (Mission, Evansville).

Participants squeezed in time for basketball, volleyball and ga-ga ball whenever they could.

Workshops, such as this one on the Gifts of the Spirit led by Chris Vieck (Mission, Evansville), were held in the afternoons on Thursday and Friday.

Afternoons included reports from Action and mission efforts around the country.

Friday evening featured swing dancing.

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