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Forward Youth Worship Conference Experience/Reflections! From a 1st Timer's Perspective.
What is the Forward Conference?
Each year, 13,000 students gather at the Infinite Energy Arena to be part of an incredible weekend of worship and fun featuring some of the best worship artists and guest speakers in the world. It’s more than just a conference, it’s a call to this generation to leave the past behind and push forward into the plans God has for their lives.
“And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to GO FORWARD.” Exodus 14:15
Where to even begin?
Let’s start here: I found out about FowardCon through my church (Thank you, RPT for this opportunity!). I help teach the middle school girls on Sundays and found out that they were taking a couple of our youth to the conference. With me being the newest leader with the girls, I thought that going on this trip would be a great way to get to know the girls more and strengthen our bond which will then have them open up more with us on Sundays. (We gotta be strategic with these kids to get them to open up just like our Sunday school teachers were with us LOL!)
So I inquired about the trip and there was an open spot as a chaperone. FowardCon, here we come!
The first night was mind-blowing in such a great way! After finding a seat (that’s a whole other blog), I got settled and took a moment to look around. Y’all, I had never seen a FULLY packed out arena, not even at the Beyonce concert I went to. I mean no seat empty. An arena full of youth READY to worship.
The first night finally started. THE GRAPHICS and full on production I saw was SICKKK! From the entertaining opening acts, lights, oh and the LED stage they stood on (amazing) was supreme. I loved seeing this conference go all out for God.
After getting over the packed out stadium and amazing visuals, then came the worship. (Dramatic pause) We worshipped our hearts out each and every night like it was our last day on earth. There were tears, arms lifted, people singing, souls being saved, and the spirit of God truly encompassing the place. I appreciated all the worship artists that led us into that atmosphere. (All artists and speakers will be listed below)
After praising our hearts out, the speakers that they chose blessed us with a WORDDDD you hear me!
My notes are filled with golden nuggets that they kept dropping. I couldn’t type fast enough and hope the messages will be posted up soon so you can hear them.
What I appreciated most about the speakers was that they were very much aware of the audience they were speaking to. As a speaker myself, I admired that. They made sure their teaching was able to be understood by a middle school/high school mindset and that it also spoke to us older folk… (the chaperones lol!)
Here are some nuggets I took away:
Now that I’ve talked about the conference,
allow me to share my personal takeaway:
Before getting to the conference, y’all know by now that I do my research so I can know what I’m walking into.
After researching, I didn’t see any familiar worship artists I knew (so I thought) or guest speakers.
So here’s the thing, I grew up on a certain type of music; Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Kim Burell, etc. So I’ve personally had a hard time opening myself up to this newer contemporary type worship. I’ve tried! My church sings these types of songs sometimes and I’d learn the words, but it wasn’t quite moving me like other music was.
With that, I told myself, “Hey, I know the music at the conference isn’t what you’re used to, but go in with an open mind and let God handle the rest.”
So I did. I was excited to hear each artist and welcomed in their worship just like I would with what I’m used to hearing.
Man, did I have a spiritual breakthrough.
I think in the past, I subconsciously didn’t open myself up to feel when I heard this type of music. But what I realized is that it has the same power and the same anointing that flows through the music I grew up on.
Y’all, I was having like a whole mind-blowing epiphany within my own little bubble.
It’s amazing what going in with an open mind can do.
After that realization, I let myself go and felt His presence throughout each song I sang. It was an amazing experience for me.
To top that all off, let me tell you about this beautiful angel that blessed me.
As I was worshipping…and crying (Thug tears lol)…this random woman touches my back. As I’m wiping my tears, I’m thinking she needs to get by, because I was on the end of a row. That wasn’t the case. As the booming music from Hillsong Worship was playing, I heard her as clear as day say, Hi my name is Lindy. I know this might sound crazy and be kind of weird but the Lord told me to come and pray for you. Is that ok? Not knowing who she was from Adam, I said yes.
We hugged each other from the side, put one arm around each other, rested our heads together, and she began to pray for me. (I’m getting teary-eyed as I type).
She was such a blessing to me. I listened to her prayer, and wiped my eyes, and can’t even remember everything she said, but I can remember the way she made me feel.
I’m SO grateful she followed her heart and was obedient to what God asked her to do because she hugged me in a moment that I really needed one. I got her number and texted her afterwards telling her thank you again.
Thank you, Lindy.
With ALL that being said,
I had a phenomenal time. From seeing our youth worship, get saved, laugh and sing on the buses, build bonds with fellow youth and witness some of them wanting to get baptized so we did it in the pool of the hotel, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Sleep deprived, yes. Worth it? Heck yes.
Artist and speaker info below:
Jentezen Franklin, Carl Lentz, Levi, Luscko, Dawnchere Wilkerson, Reggie Dabbs, Ben Prescott.
Hillsong Worship, Andy Mineo, Bethel Music, Passion Music, Free Chapel Music.
Gloria J Carter
7/3/2019 09:36:55 am
OMGeeeee! I'm so glad that you were able to be open to the entire experience and for sharing your take aways on this platform. I think I got a bit teary eyed just reading that you were teary eyed...
7/16/2019 04:57:39 pm
Gloooooo! I've really found that sharing with yall is so therapeutic for me. It's like my own little public journal that has taught me to find strength in my vulnerability...and come to find out that it can bless others. You made me teary eyed AGAIN lol! Thank you for your continuous engagement. xoxo
4/27/2020 03:22:20 pm
What an amazing experience to be closer to God! I am in awe of the thirteen thousand youth members who participated in the Forward Youth Worship Conference. It makes my heart so happy to see that there are so many youth members who are willing to listen to the voice of God. I have always been a follower of God and I am not ashamed to say that because in times when I felt so alone, I felt God's presence in my life. I hope that you will be able to encourage more people to join you in your next conference and I am glad you had tons of fun.
7/4/2019 11:04:27 am
Abigail, reading this gave me goosebumps. I could picture your smiling face turned toward God and your soul taking in all that was offered. I know your Sunday group will be getting even more glory through you because of this experience. ❤️
7/16/2019 04:59:59 pm
Oh, Sue. This put such a big smile on my face:) Yes! This experience definitely opened my up for greater. Thank you for taking the time to read! xoxo
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