On December 28th, 191 students from Minneapolis headed out to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Seven hours later they arrived, along with students from Charleston, South Carolina, Central Illinois, and East Lansing, Michigan.
And the 2015 Milwaukee New Years Conference began.
Over the course of five days, students had plenty to do: they attended rallies, seminars, and breakouts; they played spikeball, basketball, and volleyball; they enjoyed games, conversation, and worship music. Most importantly, though, the students saw Jesus work in their lives and the lives of those around them.
The theme of this year's Conference was "Only One." Our two main speakers were John Piper, founder of Desiringgod.org and former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, and Matt Reagan, Regional Director of Campus Outreach Charleston. They spent the five days talking to students about the one way to have relationship with God, through his one son Jesus Christ, and how Jesus dying for our sins on the cross completely changes how we use our one life.
While the week is scattered with plenty of fun activities and time to bond with friends both old and new, the Conference is mainly a place where students are immersed in the Bible and its applications for life.
Throughout the week, students were able to choose a few seminars to attend, given by various staff members, to help flesh out those Biblical truths and applications in specific ways. Topics included apologetics in today's world, discipleship and ways to give your life away, what it means to experience the love of Christ, how to kick addictions, and even how to use technology in a God-glorifying way. Students were able to dive into different topics they were curious about and discuss afterward with others who attended.
Like I said, Conference exists in hopes that God will work in students’ hearts during the five days and perhaps, we pray, even change certain trajectories in their lives to be more God-glorifying and help deepen their relationships with Jesus.
Every year God is faithful, and those prayers are answered.
Each student filled out an evaluation at the end of the week to help the Campus Outreach staff assess the Conference. There are places to comment and expound on their time at Conference, and here are a few quotes students left:
“Coming into the conference I was looking for a community of believers that would challenge me in my faith and walk with the lord. The conference was so helpful in helping me find a community and a family that will love me and help me get closer to God.”
“Conference helped me clarify the things I was questioning in my life. After writing down all of my questions/concerns, all of them were answered at some point during the conference.”
“I didn't come into this as a Christian but every part of this conference from the speakers, to the worship, to the seminars, to the amazing people and obviously God's grace, I am leaving a new person and someone who has begun to walk with Christ. I can't thank everyone enough and God enough for getting me here to this.”
“I came into this conference really skeptical about the Lord and everything about religion. I've been really struggling with a lot and being here has started something inside I my heart that wouldn't be possible without the presence of God. I learned that I really need community; to be able to let someone into my brokenness. I've also learned that there is only one love; it's not about me and my love for God, but instead about His love for me, and as terrifying that is, I've found it so comforting to hear and hold on to through this week.”
God worked, as he always does, at Conference this year. Our staff team is very thankful for CONYC 2015.
For more information about our New Years Conference, or to listen to audio from any of the rallies or seminars, visit www.newyearsconference.com