The 13th Annual Urban Youth Convention (UYC) took place at Jeremiah Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee, Wisc., on July 30 through Aug. 2, 2014.
In attendance were 160 youth and adults from Milwaukee; Muskegon and Grand Rapids, Mich.; De Kalb and Chicago, Ill.; Los Angeles, Calif.; and Greenville, SC.
The speaker was Rev. Jonathon Brooks of Canaan Community Church in the Englewood community of Chicago. He preached on the story of Joseph in the Old Testament.
He explained that the gospel is about personal salvation and eternal life with Christ. But he stressed that the gospel is not just about the future; we must be committed to change the world.
Thirty-five people came forward when Brooks challenged them to be “dangerous dreamers” who want to change the world.
Rhoda Ward, the leader of a hip-hop ministry, recruited three boys from Englewood, Michael, Courtney, and Chuckie, to attend the convention again this year. Courtney has come 10 years straight.
All three recently graduated from Calumet High School on the south side of Chicago. Because Courtney and Chuckie do not have living parents, Michael’s mother had taken them into her home to raise.
Both Courtney and Chuckie came to the conference with injuries from gunfire. Courtney had been shot in the right hand. Chuckie, who turned when he heard the gunfire, suffered a 12-inch gash across his shoulder blades.
Chuckie was among the young people who responded to the challenge to receive Jesus as Savior and to make a commitment to change the world.
On Sunday morning, Chuckie asked Michael’s mother if he could go to church with her. He had never asked that before.
Proudly wearing his Urban Youth Convention T-shirt, Chuckie gave a powerful testimony about how the conference team leaders, workshops, and messages had helped him realize that God has a plan and call on his life.
God had kept him alive for a reason and not allowed the bullet to take his life. He wore that T-shirt throughout the neighborhood and told everybody who asked about the Urban Youth Convention.
Chuckie’s transformation made an impression on Michael’s mother. She vowed to ask Chicago Alderman Brooks (Englewood) to donate city funds so that more young people from Englewood can attend the Urban Youth Convention. If God can use the UYC to get through to Chuckie, he can help other youth in the community too.
Your financial support helps provide scholarships for young people who want to make a difference for Christ. Pray for Chuckie, Courtney, and Michael, that they will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and become disciples that change the world.
About the Author
Rev. Bob Price is Home Missions ministry team leader for all Christian Reformed black ministries.