After a six-year hiatus, the Adventist Youth for Christ (AYC) ministry has returned in 2020, drawing a crowd to their conference entitled “Return: Identity, Revival, Mission” in Melbourne (Victoria) over the weekend of January 24-27.
Held at Arrow on Swanston in Melbourne’s inner city, the event attracted 425 registered attendees, with an additional 400 guests visiting on Sabbath.
“It was an amazing and unexpected turnout, we had to put out so many extra chairs!” said AYC president Samuel Kitevski.
The weekend was centred on reinvigorating the spiritual identity of Adventist youth and young adults through morning devotions, plenary sessions and workshops, and evening worship programs. All of the sessions were scheduled around meals provided at the conference.
Representatives from the General Conference (GC), including associate ministerial secretary Pastor Pavel Goia, world youth director Pastor Gary Blanchard, and Sabbath school and personal ministries assistant director Justin Kim, were speakers at the event.
“Pastor Kim spoke to us about the new InVerse Sabbath school lesson pamphlets, which he helped create, and everyone was really interested,” said Mr Kitevski.
Alongside GC representatives, Pastor Boris Jovinov, Justin Torrossian (AYC vice-president for evangelism) and his wife Charissa, and John Kitevski also gave inspiring presentations and workshops. In addition, Victorian Conference president Graeme Christian gave the welcoming address on Friday night, and Pastor Nick Kross—who was in Fiji promoting the World Changers Bible—sent a video greeting.
On Sunday afternoon, attendees were sent out into Melbourne City to do outreach, including advertising Doug Bachelor’s upcoming evangelistic program, and singing and ministering to nursing home residents in the area.
A focus on outreach was in line with the theme and purpose of the weekend.
“Although the tagline might seem random, the words are all related,” said Mr Kitevski. “We felt that we first have to return to our Adventist identity and rediscover our purpose. And as we return to spiritual identity, the result is that we experience personal spiritual revival, and return to mission. The connection between those three words is what we tried to focus on at this year’s AYC.”
As a result of their efforts, AYC attendees made 105 contacts interested in Bible studies, health talks and other Church ministries. They’ll be followed up over the next few months by local pastors and Bible workers from Gateway Adventist Centre.
As a grassroots ministry run by youth and young adults from Victoria and interstate, AYC operates under the guidance of Gateway Adventist Centre (Melbourne). While the ministry ran between 2006—2014, “Return: Identity, Revival, Mission” is the first event that has been run in six years.
“Back in 2018, some of us at Gateway were talking about how our young people were struggling, most of whom had been born into church, and we were inspired to start up AYC again,” said Mr Kitevski. “We were praying about it and as I started to move forward in faith, I got a text message from a number I didn’t recognise. It was someone from interstate I’d never met before saying he’d been inspired to start AYC again too and that he wanted to work together. It was the kick of encouragement from God that I needed.”
The AYC leadership team plan to turn the event into an annual conference, with next year’s meetings scheduled to be held at Avondale University College (NSW) from January 28-31 under the theme “Prophesy Again”.
“In Revelation 10:11 it says we have to prophesy again. And as we look around at the world and it’s natural disasters, diseases and wars, we’re realising that we are living in the last days,” said Mr Kitevski. “We need to go out and preach God’s message one final time.”
While the leadership team plans the next conference, AYC will be running mission trips to various locations within and outside of Australia throughout 2020.
“I just want to say thank you to the Victorian Conference youth department and executive committee for helping us make the event possible, they’ve been really supportive,” Mr Kitevski said.