Young adults gather for discipleship, fellowship at ‘Kickback’ weekend

By: Brad Rowland

Created organically from the desires of young adults in The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory, “The Kickback: It’s In Your Hands” convened for a mid-January weekend in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Dozens of mission-minded, spiritually focused individuals gathered for a weekend of community, fellowship, fun and worship, all under the banner of Galatians 6:4-5.

“The Salvation Army has a group of on fire young adults who will not sit idly by when it comes to their own spiritual development,” said Emaniel Brifil, Florida divisional young adult and missions program coordinator and an organizer of the weekend. “I think it would benefit people to know that a group of young adults came together who are desperate for intentional relationships and discipleship.”

The event featured worship sessions, small group discussions and breakouts, service projects in the local community and a panel discussion on Saturday evening.

“The panel highlighted how passionate young adults are about cultivating authentic relationships with Christ and living that out in church and their communities,” said Sabrina Kemper, Florida divisional creative arts director and an organizer of the weekend. “All of the questions and the discussions that followed pointed to a group that loves the Lord, loves The Salvation Army and really wants its ministry to thrive and accomplish kingdom progress.”

Above all, the sense of community was palpable, particularly within small groups that could focus on issues and topics relevant to young adults.

“The Kickback was a different, yet amazing, experience that I really enjoyed,” said Matt Pulver, an attendee. “The small group setting allowed all of us to lead sessions amongst ourselves with our own questions. I really appreciated the opportunity to worship in an environment of mature young adults.”

Service projects ranged from nursing home visitation to the cleanup of a local park. That provided inspiration, and the atmosphere of the weekend was conducive to reflection and growth.

“This occurred with the money, energy and time of young adults who worked to make it happen simply because they cared to and that God blessed their efforts,” Kemper said. “It was a beautiful time of discipleship, prayer, singing, learning and outreach that changed all attendees for the better.”

Though plans are not necessarily in motion for a return in 2021, the leadership team is open to “wherever God leads” in this area, far from ruling out a similar gathering in the near future.

“The weekend was so needed,” said Jovanie Smith, territorial young adult and mission deployment coordinator. “It was fantastic to just be with people, have people feel welcome and not worry about anything but being there in community with one another. Honestly, it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever been a part of.”