Delegates All In for Jesus at TYI
By: Major Jamie Satterlee
This summer, teens and young adults from around the territory gathered at Camp Walter Johnson (NSC) for the Southern Territory’s annual Territorial Youth Institute. Inspired by Mark Batterson’s “The Circle Maker,” delegates were challenged to be All In and to bring their bold, audacious prayers to God. From the beginning of the week, delegates were invited to join the “All In circle”, surrendering the week, and beyond, to what God had in store. The delegates rose to the challenge laid before them. While discipleship moments outside of the daily meetings are usually led by staff, this year, the delegates took the lead.
“It was such a beautiful thing to see,” says Major Jamie Satterlee, territorial youth secretary. “Before breakfast, during free time, you’d see small groups of delegates studying the Word and praying together, completely delegate driven. This year’s delegation really took advantage of being able to gather with like-minded young people and to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus.”
There was a real sense of desire for deep relationship with Jesus. Studies show that this generation, Generation Z, born between 1999-2015, are the first truly “post-Christian” generation. The percentage of teens who identify as atheist is more than twice that of older generations. What we saw at TYI, however, shows that while this statistic may be true, there is a significant number of young people who are hungry for Jesus and are seeking relationship with Him.
This was evident throughout the week’s Morning Mannas, a time set aside each day for worship, led by Aaron McClain, and Bible teaching. This year’s focus, led by Dr. Jeff Wallace, centered around Luke 10:27, with each day lasering in on each of the imperatives found there: loving God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and loving others as you love yourself. Worship wasn’t just confined to these morning meetings.
One of the most impactful experiences of the week was Thursday night’s Prayer and Praise meeting. From the moment the delegates entered the chapel, there was a sense of the moving of the Spirit. Prayer stations were set up around the room so that delegates could move through at their own pace. In the center, set in the circle, was an acoustic musical group, who simply sang worship songs throughout the evening, allowing delegates to pray in the circle or continue through the prayer stations. One of the most impactful stations was a foot washing station, which explained the biblical concept and provided an example before guiding the delegates through the washing of another’s feet. There was a steady movement of delegates through this station, and tears flowed as they served their peers and prayed over them. The experience was so great that many did not want to leave the space, staying to worship well beyond the allotted schedule.
There was plenty of time for fellowship outside of the worship experiences with organized recreation and electives. These electives included both practical life skills, such as a class on adulting, as well as performance groups. One such group was the gospel choir elective, led by Lt. Denzell McClain, who led Sunday’s benediction with “Total Praise,” the perfect end to the day’s worship service. During that service, led by Major Matt Satterlee, territorial youth secretary, the delegates were encouraged to take everything they had learned throughout the week and put it into action. Drawing from Mt. Everest base camp survival tactics, delegates learned that being All In requires continual discipline to grow in Him. “We’ve got to stop trying to maintain our relationship with Jesus by only getting filled at events. We have to daily draw from the buckets, the spiritual disciplines, to climb the mountain.”
It’s tempting to look at the stats on young people and faith and be discouraged, but we serve a God who is bigger than any statistical trend, and this TYI is evidence that God is still at work in the lives of this generation. They desire to grow in Him, and it’s our responsibility to guide them in discipleship and holiness, and to equip them as leaders, as they devote themselves to serve as All In disciples for the kingdom.