By Jessica Brodie
More than 2,000 youth and youth workers from across South Carolina gathered last month for a youth event so powerful attendees are still tweeting about it—and, organizers hope, the message will stick throughout their lifetime.
“Just as we talked this year at the event about each person being a unique masterpiece designed and created for a purpose, I can’t help but think about how each year of Revolution is its own unique masterpiece as well,” said Chris Lynch, conference congregational specialist who also coordinates Ministries with Young People. “It was great to watch as God took Romal’s messages, the music of I Am They, the paintings of our artist Scott Erickson and the amazing young people in attendance to create a masterful weekend that truly was a masterpiece.”
Held Jan. 29-31 at Township Auditorium in Columbia, the three-day event encouraged attendees to live out their life as the masterpiece God has intended them to be. Started in 2010 to provide a place for young people in South Carolina to have a powerful, life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, Revolution invites youth to know and live for Christ through passionate worship and spiritual renewal.
The design team’s Rev. Mandy Young said she thinks this year's Revolution was one of the best yet, and the response from youth and adult participants has been overwhelmingly positive.
“At Revolution 2016 we had one of the largest youth responses we've ever had. Hundreds of students came forward on Saturday night to give their lives to Christ, and over 120 students came forward Sunday morning to claim that they feel God calling them into full-time ministry,” Young said. “I continue to be amazed at what God has done and is doing through the ministry of Revolution. It gives me hope and excitement for the future of the church.”
This year’s Revolution featured Romal Tune as the lead speaker, testifying to the potent power of redemption and living beyond the label. Today a communicator, community strategist, inclusion consultant and author of the award-winning book “God’s Graffiti: Inspiring Stories for Teens,” Tune grew up amid poverty and violence in the inner-city to become a magna cum laude graduate of Howard University and Duke University School of Divinity.
Christian music band I Am They centered attendees in worship at each session with their energetic sound. Hailing from Carson City, Nevada, I Am They has roots as a worship team based out of a community of various area churches. The band’s six-piece sound is propelled by versatile musicianship and anchored by three-part vocal harmonies. After winning a band competition at Spirit West Coast, I Am Theygarnered attention within the industry, culminating in a major label/publishing deal with Provident Label Group.
To correlate with the theme of “masterpiece,” attendees were inspired by the painting of Scott Erickson during every message, and DJ Frank Clark entertained the crowd with uplifting music, as well.
Silly contests, youth dance performances, an Imagine No Malaria “More Than Nets” fashion show, pizza parties and other fellowship opportunities rounded out the weekend.
“Revolution was an incredible, impactful weekend,” Lynch said.
Young extended special thanks to design team members and the dozens of lay and clergy servants who give of themselves and work incredibly hard to make Revolution a success each year.
Lynch, Young and other members of the design team are working now on plans for next year’s event, which will again be held at Township Auditorium. Dates and speakers for next year have not yet been finalized. Follow @scmyp on social media for announcements, or visit scmyp.org/revolution. A recap video from the weekend is posted there, as well.
The courage to dream: Words of wisdom from Revolution speaker Romal Tune
Throughout three days of worship, wisdom and vulnerability, Romal Tune brought a strong word for South Carolina teens about dreaming big and choosing to let God fulfill His Kingdom through you.
The communicator, community strategist, inclusion consultant and author who grew up the hard way still struggles with pain from his past. But, he told the packed Township Auditorium, we need to have the courage to dream no matter what the risk.
“It’s not easy to dream,” Tune said. “Sometimes we just want life to be easy. Dreaming involves taking risks. Dreaming involves not fitting in.”
Dare to go beyond the mediocre, he told the crowd.
“It’s time to own your own life and what God wants you to do with your life,” Tune said. “Own your dream. Name your dream. Stop hiding it.”
He urged the youth to remember that the plans God promises in Jeremiah 29:11 are not selective; they’re for everyone. All we need to do is accept the challenge head-on.
“When I was afraid to dream, it was very hard to live,” Tune said. “But when you just are willing to give God a try, doors will open that you never thought possible. When you just try, your dreams will pursue you.”
Tune shared how he went from panhandling to owning his own company and being in a position to give kids scholarships. But it only happened after he let go and let God take control.
“You cannot fit in and stand out at the same time,” Tune said.
And further, he said, you cannot dream and step courageously toward your dream if you believe you are too fat, ugly, stuck up, weird, dumb or otherwise unworthy.
“You are beloved,” he said to wild applause.
On day three, Tune shared about his broken childhood, where like Jephthah in the Bible, he found his “tribe” among the misfits and the riffraff: an inner-city gang. While he felt unworthy and unloved at home and in the classroom, in the gang he felt like a powerful leader because they treated him that way.
He said that message has stuck with him into the church, and he cautioned the teens to understand the power of the tongue and its influence on our choices.
“You don’t get a positive result out of giving people negative feedback,” Tune said. “If you want greatness, speak about greatness. The tongue has the power of life and death.”
He encouraged people to use their greatness for the most important cause on earth: God’s church.
“The church needs you,” Tune said. “You can do it if you rely on God. God will give you the victory. God will give you everything you need.”