More than 2500 young people attended the Papua New Guinea Union Mission (PNGUM) youth congress from December 15-22, 2019, at the Bautama campground in Port Moresby.
Representing nine local missions and one conference, young people, leaders, teachers, pastors and Church administrators attended the week-long event, which aimed at empowering and equipping young people and raising the standard of youth ministry in PNGUM.
The theme for the congress was “Lifting the Bar of Excellence”.
South Pacific Division youth ministries director Dr Nick Kross, and pastor and evangelist Rome Ulia, were guest speakers for the congress. They were joined by PNGUM youth director Pastor Lonol Winnie and PNGUM communication director, Pastor Cameron Wari, who helped conduct morning devotions.
Congress delegates attended morning and evening worship programs, plenary sessions, studied the Bible in small groups and attended workshops on various issues.
Guest speaker Pastor Ulia presented powerful, life-changing sermons in the evenings which were live-streamed on Facebook and viewed by thousands across PNG and the globe.
Pastor Ulia ended his sermons each night with appeals, allowing everyone the opportunity to respond by moving to the front of the stage.
In one of his plenary sessions, he spoke about re-evaluating the church structure to reach the community, adding that worship was not housed in a building, and encouraging the young people to “become the church” so that the community can experience God through them.
Meanwhile, Dr Kross spoke on the excellence of having passion. He spoke about Paul’s life of passion towards God and experiencing excellence in marriage, among other topics.
Workshops conducted by the PNGUM youth directors and departmental directors from the union office covered 18 topics including: Christian leadership, spirit-filled youth leadership, the influence of cults on young people, consumerism, the Bible Summary Project, media and technology, public speaking, facing abuse in youth ministry and disaster response.
As part of the congress service project, 100 attendees repainted seven classrooms at the Mt Diamond Adventist Secondary School.
The congress ended on Sabbath with the baptism of 26 young people, a powerful sermon by Pastor Ulia for the divine service, a presentation by Dr Nick Kross in the evening and a colourful closing ceremony where youths from the local conference and missions presented gifts to the guest speakers and facilitators.