Salvationists aim to ‘Advance’ with Territorial Young Adult Conference
By: Brad Rowland
With a new year underway, Salvationists between the ages of 18-35 gathered for the 2023 Territorial Youth Adult Conference from January 13-16. The event, held at Sonesta Gwinnett Place Hotel in Duluth, Georgia, centered on the theme of “Advance,” focused on Psalm 18:28-29, and included a combination of vibrant worship in general sessions, fellowship opportunities, relevant and practical breakout sessions, and evening entertainment.
The conference opened with “The Mix” on Friday evening. This featured an area of booths, including displays from Salvationist Service Corps (SSC), anti-human trafficking, the AMP program, camp ministry, 730, RAISE youth ministry, and more. In addition, a graffiti wall formed the backdrop of the conference, with an artist from ATL Bench constructing the logo on a large wooden wall and delegates having the chance to tag themselves around that centerpiece.
After a night of rest came a jam-packed slate on Saturday with two general sessions, three breakout sessions, and a “Hip-Hop Slam and Dance battle” to conclude the day. Captain Ruth Cancia, officer for congregational life at the Hampton Roads Kroc Center, served as the general session speaker. She emphasized the events surrounding the walls of Jericho falling while also challenging attendees to “advance” from the “promise” toward the “fulfillment,” which requires one going through the “wilderness” of life. Captain Cancia also installed four tenets in going through this process, by carrying God’s “presence” with us, “obedience” to the leading of the Holy Spirit, the incorporation of the “supernatural strength” of God, and bathing everything in “prayer.”
The breakout sessions proved to be highly beneficial, with classes offered on the alleviation of stress, seeking and finding purpose, holy sexuality, navigating the housing market, breaking the Gen-Z mold, and financial health and wellness. In addition, Rockwell Dance Academy joined the conference on Saturday to provide an upbeat hiphop and breakdance performance and inspire the delegates to move through the dance battle. Rodney Jean, assistant divisional music director for the Florida Division, also delivered his testimony, both spoken and musical during the evening.
“I am continually overwhelmed when I spend time with our territory’s young adults,” said Major Tim Gilliam, territorial youth secretary. “Despite statistical reports and what we see on the news, I see young adults who are hungry for God’s truth and who are eager to work for the mission He has called the Church to fulfill. Our young adults are Spirit-filled and want to be used by the Lord.”
On Sunday, Commissioner Kelly Igleheart, territorial commander, and Commissioner Donna Igleheart, territorial president of women’s ministries, shared beautifully in the morning session. Commissioner Donna Igleheart shared her experience serving the Lord in South Africa and the power of God answering prayer. Commissioner Kelly Igleheart spoke on the book of Joshua, asking three challenging questions:
- “Have you experienced a ‘dry land’ moment?”
- “What is your Jericho?”
- “Are you standing on holy ground?”
The conference concluded with a poignant prayer walk through several stations on Sunday evening, with each accompanied by audio. This walk culminated in a final gathering in the main ballroom, with delegates presented with flashlights to serve as a reminder to be the light in the darkness of local communities as they return home.
“My job as the TYS is to provide a seat at the table and an avenue for our young adults’ voices to be heard,” Major Gilliam said. “I think both of those things were accomplished at this year’s Territorial Young Adult Conference. Our young adults have so much to offer the Kingdom of God and have so much to teach everyone in the Body of Christ.”