MOVE 2014 dares high school students to consider what it means to “lose yourself”

MOVE-2014-2On April 4-5, 268 students and youth workers from throughout the Northwest Conference converged on First Covenant Church in Minneapolis, MN, for MOVE 2014—a weekend of teaching, worship, service and experiential learning.

This year’s theme was “Lose Yourself,” based on Matthew 16:24-25.

The weekend kicked off with a worship service that featured a performance by hip-hop artists Urban Jerusalem, praise music by Dan Rodriguez and his band and a challenging message from Tim King, chief strategy officer at Sojourners.

King shared about his experiences at North Park University, first spending a night on the street with homeless people in Chicago, and then going back, bringing food, home cooked meals and “hanging out and sharing stories.” He said that getting a chance to serve and get to know those being served began to challenge his assumptions about homeless people.

“It’s when you begin to get to know Jesus, and when you begin to lose your life, that you begin to find it again in some unexpected places,” King shared with students during the Friday night session. “What is it that is so hard, back in your town or back in your school, that Jesus might be calling you to do?”

Before heading to bed Friday night, students spent time with their youth groups preparing for the next day’s experiences and playing games facilitated by the staff of Lake Beauty Bible Camp.

On Saturday morning, youth groups fanned out to 12 different organizations and ministry sites across the Twin Cities for three hours of service, which included painting walls at churches, bundling up old clothes for thrift stores, cleaning storage spaces, and more. This unglamorous work is deeply appreciated by the sites. Many of them look forward to MOVE to get things done that they otherwise wouldn’t have the resources to accomplish.

After students painted a high profile wall at Crosstown Covenant in Minneapolis, Pastor John Jacobi said, “This was an incredible gift of the Holy Spirit at the right time. They did high quality work.”

When one of the Crosstown parishioners asked, “Why did they do this for us?” Jacobi responded, “This is one of the many advantages of being part of a larger church body.”

Saturday afternoon students and leaders came back to First Covenant for three different learning experiences. One experience concentrated on identifying issues in students’ home communities and helping them learn how to advocate for change. Another was a video that focused on what it means to live on minimum wage for 30 days. And the third was an interactive worship experience designed by worship curator Lilly Lewin.

MOVE 2014 concluded with yet another powerful worship session and message from King, who challenged students to serve even if they were never noticed for doing so.