Youth and Young ADULTS
Being part of the youth ministry of the Carolina Conference has been an honor for me since I arrived in 2004 and began my ministry as dean of boys at Mount Pisgah Academy. During that time, I was blessed to work with amazing youth who energized and motivated me to be the best youth leader I could be and to bring honor to Jesus Christ. As well as working with amazing youth, I also had the privilege to work alongside many Christ-centered, dedicated youth leaders who encouraged and mentored me on our journey to lead our youth to God’s throne. In July of 2019, I was privileged to begin serving as Youth and Young Adult director for our outstanding conference.
This conference was one of the first to promote the Adventurer ministry, which has a rich history of dedicated, selfless leaders working with youth ages five to nine. Our leaders have a vast amount of experience and continue to grow in their knowledge and share their ideas. Led by our 10-member Adventurer Council, meetings are held three times a year to help organize and plan for the promotion, training and execution of our events such as Adventurer Fun Day and the Annual Leadership Convention.
Annual Leadership Convention
The Annual Leadership Convention is a weekend event held at Nosoca Pines Ranch designed to prepare leaders in different disciplines for certification, allow them the opportunity to perfect their talents, and gain knowledge in various areas of youth leadership. An average of 200 leaders attend the weekend event in which 10 hours of training are offered. Along with training we also spend valuable time in worship and fellowship. Materials from AdventSource are made available, allowing the leaders the opportunity to return home prepared to begin their new Adventurer year.
Fun Days and Parades
The Adventurer Council members plan annual events such as Adventurer Fun Days and our parade/award ceremony held each year at Lake Junaluska. The Adventurer ministry of the Carolina Conference has grown to the point where two Fun Days are necessary, and the parade is well-attended by our children. It is a joy to see them marching their way to the auditorium with their beautiful, smiling faces. Pre-COVID-19 we had 49 clubs, 747 children, and 297 background-checked, certified volunteer staff members. In 2021, most Adventurer clubs paused their ministry due to the pandemic.
Bible Experience Program
Nothing else in our conference has shown more success in encouraging our young, future leaders to study the Word of God than the Pathfinder Bible Experience, which has experienced marked growth in the past few years. We have had outstanding representation of our conference teams at the Union and Division levels. With the success of our Pathfinder Bible Experience program, the North American Division is considering adapting a version for the Adventurer program, which we look forward to incorporating.
The Pathfinder ministry was initially designed to serve our junior youth ages 10 to 15: however, over the years we have witnessed the evolution and growth of programs such as TLT (Teen Leadership Track), and Master Guide, which are keeping our older youth and young adults active and engaged in the Pathfinder ministry. Pre-COVID-19 we had seen the Pathfinder ministry grow to 60 clubs, with 950 youth and 447 background-checked, certified volunteer staff members. The Carolina Conference Pathfinder ministry is guided by an amazing team of 38 volunteer council members who meet three times a year to plan and promote events such as the annual Leadership Weekend, the annual Pathfinder Work Bee, the semi-annual conference camporee, and the parade/awards ceremony.
The Carolina Conference is divided into five areas, and five incredibly experienced and dedicated Pathfinder leaders volunteer to lead as area coordinators. They assist in visiting the many clubs in their areas to provide mentorship, training, and encouragement.
The Youth Rally programs have grown in just a few years to include even more sites around the Carolina Conference. Weekend evangelistic events for our high school-age youth are planned by the host sites and supported by the Carolina Conference. The rallies being offered annually are IMPACT in November at Mount Pisgah Academy; ALIVE in January at the Spartanburg Adventist Church; and the most recent, REVIVE, in July in Charlotte. We have discussed plans for a Spanish-language youth rally, and look forward to implementing it in the very near future.
Young Adult Ministries
Focusing on evangelistic opportunities for young adults in the Carolinas, we host the yearly AWAKEN Young Adult Rally. This weekend evangelistic experience is geared to our post-high school, collegiate, and non-Adventist young adults in our communities. In 2021 the Conference administration initiated the Young Adult Summits (YAS), where those age 18-35 are encouraged to join our four Carolina Conference officers for supper and an informal discussion of issues, concerns, ideas and strategies for their future growth and involvement in the church.