As the weekend began, there was a feeling of anticipation. It was physical, like something was about to tear wide open. What was it, this indiscernible thing that brought thousands of young people from across Western Canada to a hockey arena? Is it a weekend with friends? Maybe. Is it deep fried goodness? Possibly. Is it a desire to grow in their walk with God and to join together for what can only be a precursor to the worship that will be in Heaven? Definitely.
You see, friends and deep fried food come and go (some quicker than others), but God, He never leaves. This Holy Spirit that these kids encounter this weekend will never leave them. It will become a part of them, an unstoppable Spirit. Sure, there may be some kids who will seem unfazed by all of this, but those kids just require the seed to go a little deeper, and when they think back on this as adults, they will remember those weekends in May.
This is the 21st weekend in May that YC Alberta has taken place. In the past 20 years, through YC Alberta and other conferences, Extreme Dream Ministries (the Ministry behind it all) has held 44 conferences in 10 nations, seen over 315,000 students impacted and 25,000 commitments to Christ.
The conference started on Friday with Bluetree
leading in a powerful time of worship. Bluetree has become a mainstay on the YC mainstage, and they could be considered the "house" worship band. The reason could be that a couple members of the band live in Alberta. It also could be that they are generally fun loving guys that the students really enjoy.
Robert Madu, teaching Pastor from Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, TX, delivered an impactful message centered on Jesus's interaction with the woman at the well in John 4:5-14. It was a great opening massage for a weekend that, although it may start out as a time for friends and food, really is focused on a time of divine appointment. The night ended with Newsboys
delivering a performance that included many favorites, including dc Talk hit "Jesus Freak," during which Aaron Boyd of Bluetree joined them to drop the rap verse.
Saturday morning opened with an amazing experience during the World Vision
promotion. A student who committed to sponsoring a child was given the opportunity to Skype with their sponsored child. It made an impact on everyone in the arena. Bethel Music
's Amanda Cook and Hunter Thompson led the worship, and Jeff Vanderstelt, lead teaching pastor at Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA, delivered a life changing message about the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Saturday evening main session opened at a frenetic pace with a concert by Capital Kings
. The foundation of the old arena shook with the pounding bass. At this point I realized that maybe I'm getting old, because as the old adage goes, "if it's too loud, you're too old."
Things slowed down with worship, once again lead by the Bethel Music team and Elijah Waters. Worship pastor at The City Church in Seattle, WA brought an incredibly powerful word that was closed in an extremely intimate time of prayer. Andy Mineo
closed out the evening. His high energy pace was just what the students needed after an extremely long day. Andy interacted with the crowd and dropped a five minute freestyle in the middle of his set using random items given to him by the crowd as the subject matter.
As I walked in on Sunday morning, the students were bleary-eyed from two late nights and too much junk food. The sleepiness was soon turned into hype as Manafest
took the stage to start the morning. The majority of his set consisted of songs from his album The Chase
, which he recently re-released.
Now that the crowd was awake, the session moved from concert to church. Leeland led worship, and author and speaker Danielle Strickland taught the kids "nothing--" as in, nothing can keep you from the love of Christ.
The conference wrapped up on Sunday evening with worship led once again by Bluetree. Author, speaker and painter Eric Samuel Timm preached a message for the kids to think about as they go home about overcoming the conference "hangover" and placing their trust in the Word of God.
for King & Country
closed the conference with an energetic and engaging performance. I am constantly surprised by Joel and Luke and their band of merry men as they rush around the stage from instrument to instrument in what seems to be a beautiful bit of choreographed chaos.
Weekends like this come around once, maybe twice a year for students: a time of foundational teaching, worship and, of course, fun. Students get to see some of their favorite artists perform (which is a rarity in this part of Canada), and they get to spend a weekend surrounded by like-minded individuals who can encourage them in their faith and walk with God.
YC Unstoppable Playlist
: I asked several of the artists and speakers for their one song that defines "unstoppable." Artists including Michael Tait from Newsboys, Tree63, Omega Levine, The Afters, The Color, 1 Girl Nation, Capital Kings, Andy Mineo, for King & Country and Aaron Boyd of Bluetree all gave their input to this epic playlist that will help you feel unstoppable and understand the unstoppable nature of God. Click here
to listen and share.
Photo credit: YC Alberta official facebook page