MOVE 2017 encourages students to ‘Illuminate’ the world around them

On Friday, March 31, 185 students and youth workers from throughout the Northwest Conference converged on Minnehaha Academy’s south campus in Minneapolis for MOVE 2017—a 2-day experience of teaching, worship, service and experiential learning.

This year’s theme was “Illuminate,” focusing on God’s calling for His people to be bold in sharing the light of Christ through what they are doing and who they are. During MOVE, students had the opportunity to seek out what it means to illuminate the world around them through service and learning experiences.

The weekend started with a special concert from TRU-SERVA, a Twin Cities based hip-hop artist who uses music as a way to preach the gospel and encourage positive change.

“The walls of the church need to fall down,” says TRU, “and people need to get out of their seats and go out.”

The evening continued with a worship service that featured the Covenant Worship Team. This multi-generational, multi-ethnic group is made up of members of New Covenant and Bethlehem Covenant churches in Minneapolis, and Maple Grove Covenant Church in Maple Grove, MN. Between the three churches, they have people from the USA, Mexico and 14 other Latin American countries.

“I really felt a connection to God through worship this weekend!” said one student, who was deeply impacted by the genuine and passionate worship experience brought by the team this year.

Edrin Williams, Pastor of Equipping and Formation at Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, delivered a message on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. He spent the weekend challenging students to “Light it Up” for the Lord. Using Matthew 5:14-16, as a scripture reference, Williams encouraged students to not be held back by the things in their lives that trip them up, but rather to change the world with their light.

After the message on Friday, 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 and Gaga Ball, taking pictures in the photo booth, and enjoying late night Taco Bell tacos and burritos.

On 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, painted rooms at a respite care facility, and helped with spring cleaning at several churches. Each of these ministry sites is deeply grateful for the servant-hearted work that is put in by these students and leaders. The impact is long-lasting.

After a morning of service, students headed out to locations throughout the Twin Cities for an “Urban Plunge” challenge. Each person received one dollar for lunch, the objective being to allow students to experience a little of what it might be like to struggle with poverty. Students were faced with the reality of limited opportunities and resources as they sought to provide lunch for their group with the money they were given.

“It was so great for our students to walk the neighborhood and be engaged in the culture,” said Amy Dufrene, Youth Pastor at Oak Heights Covenant Church in Hutchinson, MN. “I will be doing this at other times throughout our year as well!”

Students also used this time to explore the neighborhood, tasked with being aware of who might be considered “invisible,” and what resources may be lacking or harder to access as a person who lives in poverty.

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

“This event was awesome,” said Josh Hodgson of Community Covenant Church in Upsala, MN. “Our students definitely left thinking hard and being changed by their experiences!”