Thousands of youth are excited for the Lord at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium but they also brought with them struggles that teens often face.
"You are struggling with questions that don't have answers," the Rev. Linda Morgan-Clement, who opened the Triennium Tuesday night, told more than 4,000 teens. "Maybe you have been caught up in an addiction. Maybe you struggle with depression. But God is good all the time and Gods Spirit blowing through you is a free gift.
Presbyterian youths from around the country have gathered at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., for a weeklong conference, July 17-22. The thousands of young people have expressed high excitement to worship together with applause even during the reading of Scripture, according to the Presbyterian News Service.
"There is plenty of hope left in the PC(USA)," the news service reported.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been experiencing a continual decline in membership, including baptisms among children and young adults.
Still, as the youth conference theme proclaims, "hope is in our midst."
I know this week is going to be fun and I am also looking forward to a closer relationship with Christ and learning more about his way," said Josh from western Illinois, according to Purdue University.
"I pray that they find hope in the midst of all of the challenges and fears that youth face today in their daily lives," Herby, an adult leader from New Hampshire, told the university.
Morgan-Clement called students to search for hope at a time where life can be filled with pain and fear.
At the same time, she discouraged optimism and realism.
"Optimism is that which can only happen if we look for people like us it only happens when we limit our vision, when we only trust what we can do and do not look to what God can do and pretend that we are content," she stated, according to the denomination's news service.
"Realism holds us to a vision of the future that is trapped in the present and limits what is possible. Realism is so blind to Christ that we cannot possibly see Gods hope for us and for Gods creation.
While urging the thousands to search for hope in the right places, Morgan-Clement stated, God wants us to be agents of disruption - disrupting the worlds categories of worth and worthlessness, of power and powerlessness - so that Gods hope comes alive in you and therefore in Gods creation.