MOVE 2016 celebrates the ‘Unsung’

NWC-News-2016-MOVE-600x350On April 15-16, 200 students and youth workers from throughout the Northwest Conference converged on Minnehaha Academy’s south campus in Minneapolis for MOVE 2016—a weekend of teaching, worship, service and experiential learning.

This 2016 theme of “Unsung” focused on the truth that God still uses the average person to do amazing things. With examples like kids in the Bible stepping out in faith to help feed over 5,000 people, or the ordinary people who risked their lives for their Christian faith, students were challenged to step out of their comfort zones and allow God to show them how to be “unsung” followers of Christ.

The weekend kicked off with a session that featured the returning Blue Oaks Covenant Church worship team, led by Nicoshia Wynn. This multi-generational group brought high-energy worship that had students on their feet.

“We loved them last year, and we loved having them here again this year!” said one student, who was deeply impacted by the passion, excitement and spirit-filled worship.

The evening continued with a message from Hector Saucedo, a dynamic speaker out of Norwalk, CA, who was featured at CHIC and works with Urban Ops Music. He spent the weekend challenging students to think about obstacles, options, opportunities and obedience.

“If out of obedience you can give God a little of what you have, God is going to do great things with it,” Saucedo said.

Messages throughout the weekend encouraged students to use their past, present and future to be a light for God and in their communities.

“God desires to do in your neighborhood what you allow Him to do in you,” Saucedo told students.

Friday night, churches were given time to talk and pray as a group and prepare themselves for the following day of service and learning experiences. Before the night ended, all of the churches joined in Minnehaha’s hockey arena (sans ice) playing games like Nine Square in the Air and eating late night pizza.

MOVE-2016-BuildingsOn Saturday morning, youth groups spread out across the Twin Cities to serve at 11 different organizations. They played with children at a domestic abuse shelter, sorted donations at a thrift store, made and served breakfast at North High School in Minneapolis, helped sell shoes for a food shelter ministry and cleaned several churches. Each of these ministry sites is deeply grateful for the servant-hearted work that was put in by these students and leaders—the impact is long lasting.

After a morning of service, students headed to the Boy Scout Base Camp at Fort Snelling to grab a quick lunch. Churches were then split into small groups and sent out on Light Rail trains for a community exploration tour addressing justice issues in the urban context.

Groups had a chance to travel through Minneapolis, making stops at places like Government Plaza Station, the new US Bank Stadium, the Cedar/Riverside neighborhood and Lake Street, to hear speakers talk about issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement, sex trafficking, immigration, Native American concerns and urban gentrification. Tour guides included Mike Hotz and Marque Jensen of Sanctuary Covenant, Amy Long of Redeemer Covenant, Bob Slandered of the Dakota Tribe, and Leya Copper of InterVarsity. Each guide offered a unique perspective on these major issues that surround the Twin Cities and beyond.

“I can’t think of a better way of engaging our Covenant students on issues of faith and justice than MOVE 2016,” said Hotz, who guided the session on Black Lives Matter. “It’s in struggling with complex issues like the ones we tackled that a vibrant and lasting faith is inspired!”

At the completion of the tour, groups headed back to Minnehaha Academy for a time of worship and another powerful message from Saucedo.

“It was awesome to see students come together through teamwork,” said Tyler Menssen, the new director of Solid Rock Discipleship Program at Lake Beauty Bible Camp. Solid Rock students participated as leaders and volunteers throughout the weekend. “This event was truly a chance to see the fulfillment of the mission of Christ carried out in our youth. It was an incredible weekend and we are thankful for the opportunity we had to be there.”