“How do we help students understand what it is to be Reformed in this world, and what does it look like?”
Youth from around Alberta gather for the Inspire Conference.
That question guided the organizers of a February youth conference in Edmonton for 140 high school students, some of whom traveled hundreds of kilometers to attend.
The Inspire Conference was billed as “a new retreat experience for high school students looking to go deeper into who they are and what they believe.”
When a small group of Christian Reformed youth leaders from across Alberta initially came together to discuss the idea of this conference, they agreed they wanted it to be an instrument to ignite a fire about what it means to be Reformed. Classis Alberta North Youth Ministry Consultant Ron deVries put it this way: “Guiding words for the event were those of Abraham Kuyper: ‘There is not a single inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: Mine!’”
Organizers also wanted the weekend to focus on service and discipleship, providing students opportunities to be of service in the community, to reflect the hands and feet of Christ through their words and actions.
“The Inspire Conference was amazing. We had the opportunity to serve those in need. We bought lunch for a few people who were asking for spare change and brought apple pie, ice cream, and flowers to the folks at a local senior drop-in center. It was inspiring to see how small acts of kindness like those brought smiles to peoples’ faces,” said 17-year-old Emanuelle Dubbeldam, a member of Edmonton’s Bethel CRC.
“As an added bonus, we met other youth from around the province, which is not something we get to do very often. By the end of the weekend I had new friends, new ideas, and a new perspective on inspiration.”