The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines regenerate at being “reformed or reborn, especially in a spiritual or moral sense.”
The Holman Bible Dictionary gives this definition: “The radical spiritual change in which God brings an individual from a condition of spiritual defeat and death to a renewed condition of holiness and life.”
Regenerate, a youth and young adult festival held annually in the Georgia- Cumberland Conference, has precisely that goal in mind. The Conference Youth and Young Adult departments seek first to celebrate what God is doing in and through the youth and young adults around the Conference, and second, to inspire each attendee to move from a condition where perhaps their spiritual life has lapsed or is waning to a renewed commitment to walk in the life and light of Jesus.
“We strive to inspire our youth to regenerate the Church by being a part of the Church,” says Jonathan Montes, youth ministries director for Georgia- Cumberland.
This year’s Regenerate, held at The Church in Liberty Square in Cartersville, Ga., on March 5, 2022, featured music, workshops, and reports, all given by young people. Vandeon Griffin, D.Min., associate youth and young adult ministries director at the North American Division, was the keynote speaker.
The day started with students from various schools and groups from across the Conference sharing their experiences on mission trips they went on last year. In addition, attendees heard from campers who participated in DiscipleTrek, a three-week summer camp at Cohutta Springs Youth Camp which encourages teens to go deeper into their discipleship with Jesus.
During the church service, students from Georgia-Cumberland Academy’s Sinfonietta Orchestra, Collegedale Academy’s Opus X choir, and Southern Adventist University’s Engage Ministries teamed up for a spectacular praise time. Additionally, Atlanta Adventist Academy’s Adoramus Choir added to the musical extravaganza.
During the morning message, Griffin encouraged youth to be “loud Christians.” One example of this is by bold and unashamedly-Christian actions and interactions. As he finished his message, Griffin issued a powerful call to the youth challenging them to be Christians that make a difference in the world. Approximately 250 young people surged forward in response.
Afternoon opportunities again provided opportunities for attendees to express themselves and learn from others. The early afternoon sessions included a youth-led improvisational session; Q&A with Gary Rustad, Georgia-Cumberland Conference president; and seminars addressing negative emotions, getting involved in social media ministry, and how to live the Gospel.
The day ended with the Expression Session, which provided another opportunity to not only celebrate the gifts and talents of youth and young adults in the Conference, but also how they are uplifting and supporting the Church. Attendees were blessed by incredible music, powerful testimonies, and other creative artistic expressions such as the Georgia- Cumberland Academy’s Acroflyers gymnastics team’s pantomime illustrating biblical themes and stories.
Griffin closed the day with another powerful message challenging each to continue their walk with God.
As the festival came to a close, one attendee was overheard saying, “I feel I have been Regenerated!” Parents also expressed their gratitude that the Church was providing opportunities for young people to actively participate and attend a high caliber event specifically geared toward them. Plans are already under way for the next Regenerate on March 4, 2023.
Georgia-Cumberland | May 2022