Salvationists Celebrate European Youth Congress

Congress Coordinator Major Kelly Pontsler of the Salvation Army International Headquarters called on the young delegates to reflect on their tasks and responsibilities within The Salvation Army at the first meeting of the four-day congress.

She said, “It’s a great experience to be together. We are here and God is here. Get empowered and get ready to show Jesus to the world.”

The event was also attended by International Salvation Army leaders General John Larsson and Commissioner Freda Larsson. General Larsson praised the enthusiasm of the young delegates at the event.

“It’s marvellous how spontaneously the young people responded during the worship times,” he said. “They longed to be renewed by the power of the Spirit. We had high expectations for this event ?but what we have experienced exceeds our greatest expectation.”

Daily Bible studies were led by the UK’s Matt Clifton who told listeners “Bible study, prayer and worship are the key.”

The Congress also included evening sessions with speakers selected by the young delegates themselves, including Sandra Ryan of Canada and Bermuda who spoke on the theme of ‘Be Connected’, as well as Jeff Lucas who’s title was ‘Receive the Power’.

On day two of the Congress over 30 workshops were held on a wide range of issues, such as global hunger, songwriting, dance, arranging music and Christian ethics, as well as moral issues such as relationships and sexuality. Workshops were also run on counselling and the different forms of ministry in countries such as Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic.

Day 3 was about putting into practice everything that had been learned over the previous two days with delegates taking to the streets of Prague to share their faith in God as part of ‘witness day’.

Over 51 groups of Salvation Army young delegates visited different areas of the city, including parks, Army hostels, day centres and Christian organisations, with prayer groups going to the university to pray for the students and to the parliament buildings to pray for the politicians.

As part of witness day, General Larsson spoke to passers-by and Salvation Army young delegates and asked them to build their lives on the rock of Jesus Christ.

Musical performances during the event included a concert by the Swiss choir Alive and a specially formed Congress Music Team which consisted of young people from four different nationalities.

On the last day of the Congress the young delegates took part in ‘Worship at the Lake’, and re-enacted the story of Jesus preparing breakfast on the sea shore, before calling to the disciples to ask if they had caught any fish.

At the close of the Congress delegates were called to be ‘powered’ by the Holy Spirit and to go into the world with the good news. General Larsson told delegates that “The Holy Spirit will enable you to do what God asks you to do,” before sending out 46 delegates in five different mission teams to evangelise in various cities of the Czech Republic in the week after the Congress.