Practising and sharing Christian faith in a post-Christian world can be difficult, which is why more than a hundred young adults gathered at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium on Sabbath, September 12, for an afternoon of sharing practical faith tips, inspiring talks and round-table discussions.
Organised by Sydney Adventist Young Adults (SAYA)—a group of young Adventist professionals—the theme for the conference was “Counter Culture: Navigating faith in a post-Christian world”. Keynote presentations were given by Greater Sydney Conference youth director Pastor Simon Gigliotti, author and international speaker Dr Heather Thompson Day, and Avondale University College first-year theology student Sharee Patrick. Each presentation explored how to navigate opposing church and world cultures, and tips on how to reach out to people who need to hear about Jesus.
Attendee Tyler Kuulkers from Stanmore Adventist Church said he enjoyed the practical aspect of the conference.
“I absolutely loved Simon and his practical tips. He always does an awesome job making whatever content he has super useful and super relatable!”
The afternoon also featured music from the Parramatta Adventist Church band and a panel discussion about the practical ways in which young adults can connect with God on a daily basis. Attendees enjoyed a delicious vegetarian lunch, hot drinks, and a light dinner and dessert provided by the venue.
Tabitha Krzar-Radovanovic, a member of the SAYA team who helped organise the program, says the motivation behind the event was to try and engage a demographic of the Church that is often overlooked.
“Young adults are the biggest group of people leaving the Church, which is a problem because they are our current and future leaders. As I look around I see less and less of the friends I had in Sabbath school staying active in church. They maybe be young professionals, young marrieds, or new parents. SAYA is seeking to reach out and engage young adults again by creating content and events relevant to them including life groups, socials, career development. I am so excited to see where God will take this ministry.”
Pastor Gigliotti agreed that the purpose of the conference was to empower young adults, listen to their frustrations and give them a place where they could feel belonging.
“Peter Roennfeldt once said, ‘When young adults are held back from what God intended, we see frustration and disillusionment.’ I agree one hundred percent,” said Pastor Gigliotti. “We not only need to help young adults navigate life and faith in a post-Christian world, but also empower and release them for mission and service in God’s kingdom.”
You can watch the full program via the Sydney Adventist Youth YouTube page.