Thursday, September 9, 2010

#191-North American Youth Congress 2009-Version A.

Editor's Note:  If there is ever a blog post on here that I invested my heart and soul and actually agonized over, it is this one. There will actually be another, probably more SAL-like post about NAYC 2009 in a few days from Chady. Two posts about one congress? Because I really think what happened there is that important. Like people may have thought it was just another 3 day extravaganza of boys being called to be preachers,  but I thought what happened at this congress was not coincidental. It was rather quite carefully structured with precision.

Sadly, the post here is long. 7 pages single spaced, long. I hate that. Consider it a memoir. The world's shortest memoir. Now you won't hate it's length.  Because of it's length, I have broken the piece up into chapters (1.5 pages per chapter). I have also included it as a downloadable file, click here. Print this if that would help. But anyways, I guess I am kind of asking you to read this one. It's written quite differently, and it way more autobiographical than any other post on here. I didn't like this. But I would explain that using myself in the text is just a tool. I am nothing more than a symbol in the text. Make use of the symbol however you want. 

Lastly, to aid you in the journey of this blog, I am adding an optional piece of music that may play in the background. It's off my favorite artist, Sufjan Stevens' recent EP. It's called "All Delighted People" and is definitely a conversation with God song that is further described as, "a dramatic homage to the Apocalypse, existential ennui, and Paul Simon’s "Sounds of Silence." In short, I suppose you could say that subconsciously, this song was manifesting itself through this essay.

<a href="">All Delighted People (Original Version) by Sufjan Stevens</a>

ALTERNATE TITLE of this post: A transparent rambling of sorts: This is what madness looks like (or “the pangs of disillusionment at the glimpse of a hope misplaced and the cynicism that is birthed as a result in him who is a creep, who is me. And is possibly you).

" hard it must be to live only with what one knows and what one remembers, cut off from what one hopes for!... There can be no peace without hope."

 -Albert Camus

In 2000, someone prophesied that I would be a preacher. Yes, that sounds right. Listen to me. I am great. I have a voice. Let me tell you how it is. Let your ears be moved by my brilliance.

In 2004, I went to college. I drank heavily. I lost religion. Watch me have fun. So many stories of me being awesome as a drunk. I am a circus director.

In 2006, I almost converted to Judaism. It’s in my blood you know? Yes, I am that special. So special. Embracing the heritage. Visited Jerusalem with my Jewish brothers and sisters. Look at me at the Western Wall. On the Temple Mount. So Sacred. So Religious. So Rational. I have the answers. I am wearing a yarmulke. I am a rabbi.

In the spring of 2007, I read Romans. It’s so deep. I understand it. Why didn’t anyone tell me about it? I’m so smart. So kind. I am being led by the Spirit. Everyone look at me. I am starting a Bible study about Romans. Completely separate from any church sponsorship. And people are coming. 20 people (or was it 10?). They don’t have to come. They want to come. I am telling them about Romans. I am a bright shining star. I will be a preacher you know? Yes, a prophet said so. I am also liberal. So hip. So non-conformist. They didn’t tell you? We have all concluded that standards are a trivial matter. We would talk about the insignificance of standards for hours. For days. Listen to me! I am a sage. I have the answers. I will preach to you one day.

THE ENTIRETY OF THE POST IS AFTER THE BREAK. Click "read more."  Or just click here

North American Youth Congress 2009 (an ode to Dave Eggers)


In August of 2007 my friends and I ride into Charlotte, NC. It’s Youth Congress. My friends are there and countless others who I don’t know are all showing up to take the party over. We are pioneers. We are breaking ground. You have come to bear witness to what will now be in our movement and what is to come. This is what God wants. This is Progress.

There are people in jeans  on the platform. Singing. Worshipping. They are in jeans! This is so cool. Does this matter? I don’t know. But it’s there. And it’s us. This is ours. We are the new way. Eat it up conservatives.

And the sermons…In the past youth congresses there was that one dude who said he wanted one of us to be in the White House. Pick Me! I will do it.

 Then there was that one dude. Mark Johnston who threw the Mountain Dew cans in the crowd when he preached at congress. He even opened some up on the stage and it sprayed everywhere. “Do the Dew!” Yes, I get it. Haha. That preacher, he’s crazy. That was neat. “Where is he now? Oh, he’s not invited back to preach anymore? Why’s that? Oh, because he has facial hair in his picture on his church website?” That’s not acceptable. That dude, he’s crazy. Don’t tell the kids about him. He will give them diseases.

Look at that stage at congress. I am called to preached on that same stage. I am going to be a preacher. Youth Congress, 2015. Yes, I will preach something crazy. You will remember it. Things will be thrown at you in the crowd. 2 liters! People will love me. “Sign your bible? No, no,  I couldn’t. Really. Well, if you insist.” I will have a pretty wife too. You will be jealous.

But what about here at Youth Congress, 2007. There’s Danny Rivers. Preaching about helping the poor. Giving clear water to Africans. Starving people. Unbelievable. How come I have not heard this before. This is right. This is moving. I cried at the end of that sermon. No, seriously. I have emotions too. No one else cried at the end. Did they just listen to what they heard? No, they were talking. Must have been. It was an afternoon message. No need to get torn up over those, seriously though. I wish you listened. I wish you were there. That message devoured my soul. It became a part of me. It still is. This was right because it wasn’t about me. I no longer want to be a preacher. I want to be in Africa. I am a terrible person.

“Where is Danny Rivers now? Oh, he’s not invited back anymore to preach? Because he said Angelina Jolie and Bono were being better witnesses than us by their giving?” God forbid.

Look, there is Wayne Francis. So unique. So much energy. He’s ours. He’s black too. See, we’re not racist. My favorite preacher is black!

And then there is Todd Gaddy. He is preaching. Except he is not really preaching, he is talking. He is speaking, calmly. Do you see this? This feels right. I am called to be a preacher if this is allowed. I hate screaming. But this, I can do this. “Where’s Todd Gaddy now? You don’t want to talk about it? But his website doesn’t even have pictures on it! You realize that man has changed my life. I saw him preach in Ohio many years ago and it was like the man was actually speaking to me and not at me. I will never forget it. Okay, okay, we’ll skip it.”

And we left youth congress. Hope. Things changing. Barack Obama. We are coming. This is right. Jesus is really in on this too. I can show you the scriptures.

This sounds dumb, I know. It sounds pathetic. But I really believe in it. I am dancing on the inside. It’s not a real dance. Mostly awkward. But it’s my soul singing because we were witnessing something. Who cares about preaching? “Hello, my name is Joel and I am your best friend. I love you. I love the UPC. We are moving. Be encouraged.”


And we strolled gleefully into Youth Congress 2009 in Nashville. I am a cute puppy. La la la la. Look at the sunset. The purple, the orange, and red. So beautiful. Nashville, here we come. No more blue jeans? Okay, fine. What does it matter. That wasn’t us anyways.

The best part about any youth congress is the socializing. In the hotel lobby. It’s the cool place to be. You aren’t invited. I am though. I am here in the lobby. With the cool people. Look over there. There is that one guy with a clothing line. And then there’s Wayne Francis. He has a photographer following him. There is that one girl from Praise. She is dating that other guy in a band that will be famous one day. I know them both. Not personally. I am a creep. I know them so well. Facebook stalking. Everyone’s doing it. Here we all are in a hotel lobby. We are so pretty. Bow ties. Big hair. Talking. Laughing. We are bright and shiny Christmas ornaments. Hugs. “How are you!??!? I haven’t seen you in soooooo loooooooong!” Annoying voices. This isn’t right. This is wrong. We should be doing something. Tearing things down. Lighting Things on Fire. Building New Buildings in the aftermath. Our names can be on these new buildings. People will know us. Come! We can change things. We can help people. Maybe stage a sit-in. A March of protest about a cause that we know about that others don’t. Martin Luther King Jr. Who cares if our suits get dirty? We can matter. We NEED to matter. We don’t matter if we stay here…..But we stay here. Sit and talk and laugh. Make eye contact. We are dressed like hideously shaped fruit that will rot in four days. And if I tell them that I think this party is not all it’s cracked up to be  or how this rerun of a TV show has lost it’s luster, they will take me out back and flog me. Possibly lethal injection. I doubt lethal injection. That’s a bit extreme. But flogging, I would be flogged. It’s kind of romantic when you think about it.

Oh wait, scrap everything I wrote in the paragraph above.  There is a pretty girl I have never seen sitting down in that chair in the lobby. I love what we are doing. We are Apostolics. The girl is dressed like a Hollywood Premiere. I want to marry her. Does she want to marry a preacher? Because I am called to be a preacher. She probably knows this. I tell her I like Jane Austen, the Notebook, Little Women. Because that’s what she wants to hear. If I tell enough girls that I like these things I may even start to believe it. The girl swoons. Such a gorgeous smile. And she is a minority. Always wanted to marry a minority (so risqué!).

Sweat breaks on my forehead in the middle of the conversation. I get nervous. I am terrible at these things. I am being fake. This is not me. I am not funny. They are going to fry me. She probably can tell that I am a communist agnostic emergent liberal. Does she have make-up on? No. Her dad will threaten me when I meet him at Thanksgiving. Because she lives in California. And her dad is a pastor. He will sniff me out. Broken legs probably. With a baseball bat. I deserve this.

My game is deteriorating quickly. I need to get out of this conversation. I am making a fool of myself. I keep asking her stupid questions. She is bored of me. She wants to leave this conversation. “You are breaking up with me?” No I’m divorcing you. “But what’s your name again? How do you spell that? Okay I’ll see you on Facebook.” I will like one of her statuses about God. She will fall in love with me again. I will FB stalk her until she wants to talk on the phone. I will visit the pages of any guys who comment on her profile and develop animosity towards them. They will be added to the list of people I will frown at in person if I see them.


As for the services. Right before one of them, I am to interview Kenneth Haney in a secret room. He will know about me. No? Then I will tell him about me. I am to be a preacher. Yes, Youth Congress 2015.

Got it, thanks. God Bless.

Who is preaching? Wayne Huntley? I have heard about him. What’s he saying? He’s screaming. He’s angry. Why is he so serious? He is talking about being Aposotlic. He is talking about us. Standards are good.
I am half-scared. Confused. That must have been a fluke.

I am sure Mooney will say something different. No, he’s angry too. Putting the fear of God in me. He is talking about evil emergents. He is talking about “them.” I am not emergent. No, they will think I am emergent. I did read Rob Bell. I did read Donald Miller. They know this. They are preaching at me. They want me gone. I don’t have Rob Bell glasses though. I am not a hip youth pastor. I am called man. Called to preach. Youth Congress 2037!

I am a deer in the headlights. I am so little. I am suddenly a bug. Watch me get boiled in the pot. Do it slowly. Where are my friends? The ones who were going to help me make things better? They are not here. They are missing. Back-slidden. Definitely not invited. I am alone. I am not a special snowflake.

And then there is an afternoon session called “Apostolics Identity.” It’s about us Again. It’s all about being you. Being like them. Be separate. Be proud about it.

I am being lanced. Prodded. Skewered. This is the sound of a man losing hope. Put a little garlic on me. I will taste better. 425 degrees. Yes that’s right. I am a parasite.

And then there is that one preacher everyone loves. Ah yes, great man. Goodbye Wayne! Standing Ovation. Louder cheer than any other during the entire rest of congress. Wayne wil set them straight. He is one of us. Preach. Tell them about Jesus. About the Cross….


Broken heart. Seriously, like “this is a nightmare, when do I wake up?” kind of broken heart. My lungs were filled with sharp, searing smoke. Out of every single sermon I heard that congress (6), not one mentioned the cross. 5 of them talked about us. Who we are. Jesus is alive in us. No need to mention the cross. We preached to ourselves about ourselves.

Are we missing something? No, I am missing something. I am wrong. Don’t look at me. I have missed it. I got on the wrong boat. I am stupid. I am ugly. I am rebellious. I am not a preacher. Not called. Forget it. Youth Congress, 2103: live from a life support accordion machine!.


Youth Congress 2009 left me so confused. A shovel right across my face. Spiritual frost bite. The dance was dead. The afterglow was done radiating. Nothing left but numbness. They had killed it. Such is life.

At the 2009 Youth Congress, the thing the UPC was and what I thought it would be were irreconcilable.

Like that time we all had, or may still be having, where we think we are different. We are special. We are not like the rest. We are the exception, not the rule. It’s usually in college that this happens. You tell yourself you will be the exception to the rule. You are optimistic. You will be New York City to everyone elses Kansas. I thought this. Don’t feel bad.

But then you realize (or will soon realize) that you are not who you imagined you would be at this point in life. The band you were in didn’t work out. The preaching invites weren’t as numerous as you had anticipated. That church numbers decreased instead of increased. The book you wanted to write never got finished. Not as many people as you had imagined showed up to your big youth extravaganza that you had planned months for.

And you have a job. Maybe a family. And it’s great. But it’s kind of boring. And you realize, you are normal. Average. Like the rest of us. You realize you are who you once told yourself you would not be. The expectations were for the moon. You only got to the end of your street.

And somewhere, something is screaming, “NO! NO! NO!” This was not how it’s supposed to work out. But all the grown-ups are saying “Welcome aboard. This is the rest of your life. Be peaceful. Be Silent. Do you want to preach?”

And this is absolute torment. Dread. When you realize this. And you can choose to face the dread and it’s evil and try to strangle it. It will be embarrassing. But it means you’re alive. People will probably hate you because of it. Or you can take the horror of the mediocrity of your life and stuff it in the deep recesses  of your brain. And try to forget about it. And say this life is better than what your dreams were made of. Now let’s go to church. “Honey, will you change the baby’s diapers? The game is on.”

This was Youth Congress 2009 to me. It was a wake-up call to reality. The dream world of everything being on the up and up within our movement. With progress as the currency of this delusion. A lie I thought was possible. And I would be at the center of it all. People would love me. Bouquets would be thrown at my feet. Wave to the crowd. Smile!


Youth Congress 2009 showed me the mirror of who I was. I was a demon. A Heretic. An emergent. I didn’t feel like any of them. But they told me I was one of each. They knew me better than I knew myself.

And the few of us who were there were all speechless. We now had choices. Because our hope was a joke. Things would never, at least for a good amount of time, “move.” The choices were...

1) You could just leave. Vacate the denomination. No one would blame you. Jump ship, “Bon voyage!” You weren’t getting what you paid for after all. Cash in ticket. Get refund. People would whisper. It means nothing when they do. You will be objectified in the role of a monster. But I won’t tell you about it. Just try not to be too bitter. You got guts, that's for sure.

2) You could also accept what Youth Congress 2009 was saying. Accept the mundane. The desire for stasis. Embrace the traditions. Make them the main point. Become a licensed minister. Tell everyone you were always this way, and marry a pastor’s daughter. You will actually believe that you always felt this way. This will be a lie, but it is understandable. It’s easier this way. Everyone will be happy with you. GO YOU! You will consider yourself not too conservative. You will consider yourself not too liberal. You will eat at restaurants and laugh the rest of your life and shake peoples heads at the altar to make them think they feel God. Maybe you will make Facebook statuses against liberals. Against me. I won’t mind. I will like your status. You had to do this. The job was in the full truth. I will pray you preach at Youth Congress soon. 

3) And there is the last option. Believe what you think is true. Even if it’s not what Youth Congress 2009 said is true. Everyone will hate you for it. But you stick around anyways. They will want you to leave. But never tell you. You will be insignificant. But they will talk for days about how much you don’t matter. You will be miserable at times. Your heart will be torn several times over until you kind of become numb to it all. You will maintain. You will not compromise. You will probably go insane too. But you will build what you can. They will preach against you. Malicious things will be said about you. But what does that matter? You will sigh heavily. Lose friends (I have lost many). You will be the enemy. But an enemy who hides out in the good guy’s base. Because they think you are too scared to leave. But it’s actually just because it’s all you have ever known. God is here. You know that. Never forget that. You might even cry about all of this. You will forge a path. A new one. Maybe no one will follow. But it’s yours. It’s what you were called to do. No more false hope. No more wishful thinking about preaching at youth congress. There will be disappointments. Many of them.

And you will question yourself most of all. You will question your intentions and your motivations. You may even hate yourself at times. Not feel God for long periods of time. You will be lonely.

If you couldn’t tell by my slant, I chose the last option. I left Youth Congress as the Enemy. The Target. I didn’t want to be the enemy. It was what they wanted me to be. I accepted. I left Nashville last year sick to my stomach. I was sick. So sick. When I got home I vomited. And didn't stop for some time.

Two weeks after Youth Congress, I started this blog. I needed a way to cope.  Kings of Leon, Covering legs of females that are slain in the Spirit,  the slippery slope. It’s all soo FUNNY! You see what I did there? LOL. It’s so funny because it’s true.

I was called to be a preacher. A man of God said so once. I can get you his phone number if you don’t believe me.

I’m preaching. For the Danny Rivers, the Todd Gaddys, and all the rest who they’d rather us forget. The ghosts of youth congress’ past. They probably wouldn’t approve of this one bit, but I need to cope with their absence some how.

The enemy is preaching. Are you listening. Are you here with me? Maybe you hate me. That’s okay too.

And it’s because of Youth Congress 2009. I found my call to preach there. I owe you this. I owe them this.

Don’t you see it?

Now where is the wife that I’m owed…..


  1. As your friend, confidante, and sectator, I must say that this is the best blog you've ever written. Bravo.

  2. I am roughly 10 years further along this same journey. Keep forging that path. You will come into your own and God's will. Enjoy the journey. It is preparing you for your future and that future will be great.

  3. This is me. You have no idea how comforting it is to know that I'm not entirely alone. This is the best blog entry to date. Mostly because I keep coming back to your blog feeling as if we are thinking the same things. But this post. This post says exactly what I feel and why I constantly feel so torn. I don't think this is the place to open up and dredge up the deep emotions of a childhood in "mainstream UPC" and now a "young adulthood" in this "progressive" something or another that I'm trying to carve out a place for myself in but it is so nice to feel not so alone. And you shouldn't feel so hated and alone. We are out there. We have lost our friends, even family, as well. I could go on and on.

  4. Joel, this is by far the best post you've ever written. I know somebody's already said that, but it's true. By the end, I had tears in my eyes.

    "You will forge a path. A new one. Maybe no one will follow. But it’s yours. It’s what you were called to do. No more false hope." <--I know what that feels like, and I guess it's just cool to know I'm not alone. Good job dude.

  5. Absolutely brilliant. You have iterated what has been in my heart for years. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Joel,

    Thanks for sharing... I couldn't help but feel empathy and the tears hit my eyes at the end, but I didn't cry. Sadly.
    Some of the names you were bringing up were peers and friends... both sides.

    Sounds like the prophesy that you were called to preach is valid. You're just doing it electronically in a 21st century way....

    Enjoy being on the road less travelled.

  7. I've read every single blog on this page. Lauged at some, got ticked off at some, but this one, this one touched me. As a 31 year-old, single girl from a ultra-conservative, independent apostolic church, I thought that I was the only one that felt these things. I think that maybe, just maybe, you're my new hero. Please don't get discouraged. Keep on tellin' the truth.

  8. Joel you are a prophet. This post spoke to the inner me. I am living a lie right now in my local church. A minister who has chosen the second option on your list. God help me. I am not ok with this. I cried when i read this post. THE BEST POST EVER! GOD BLESS YOU.

  9. Wow Joel you blew me away with this blog. The personal truth is so honest and raw with emotion. I agree that this is your best blog yet.. I also was dismayed at youth congress 09 compared to 07. I thought 09 was a big step back from the messages preached at 07. It was a big let down like you knew in the back of your mind 07 message was to good to be true for the UPCI. In 07 I felt like the UPCI was finely catching the vision.
    After attending a couple Fusion Conferences put on by I thought how great it would be if our organization could do the same type of conference and talk about reaching people with truth and caring action. Where the Fusion Conference lacked Spirit and truth they made up for it in action. I felt the UPCI was progressing in 07 and had a very good start by showing people love in action, but by 09 they had lost the vision and went back to preaching traditions and truth to the choir. For many of us the UPCI seems stuck in the age of our parents’ generation of rules and regulations. It is hard to leave and find out what is right and wrong on your own. The things that were preached as sin is more of a personal style than sin like (facial hair). It is very hard to leave a very conservative church "they think you are too scared to leave. "But it’s actually just because it’s all you have ever known". This is so true for many Pentecostals that grew up in church who love the Acts 2; 38 messages but find the culture uninviting for friends once the realities of our message sinks in and disillusionment happens. I am personally Thankful for a UPC church who welcomes people from all spectrum's of Pentecost especially after growing up in a very traditional conservative church. I know for many a loving accepting UPC church is hard to find. I pray God leads you to where he needs you. God Bless MH

  10. Thank you, so much! For being real, authentic. I am sick and tired of "playing church, dress it and yourself up all pretty so no one knows your secrets" No! This isn't what He wants. "Whosoever will", not "whosoever looks the best and puts on the best show." Again, thank you. This is a breath of fresh air.

  11. wow what a masterpiece!

  12. That was the most amazing post I have ever read. I think a almost shed a tear. I totally feel you bro.

  13. Proud to have you as one of my very best friends. Love you, and thanks for this.. -AK

  14. Amazing post...absolutely brilliant. I hope you are making the right choice with your life by staying. I chose Option #1, and while I do feel like a huge weight has been lifted, there have been dire consequences. God bless you for your authenticity.

  15. brilliant. the articulation of the thoughts of many other bright young men. i'm one of them.

  16. This is SAL's magnum opus. Well done, old sport. Keep writing. Keep winning.

  17. Joel:

    I appreciate the candor. Preachers are a dime a dozen. Leaders confront the brutal facts and have the ability to connect with the common thread that's impacting us (our needs). That's ministry - needs being met.

    This blog isn't powerful because of your fine wit. It's powerful and impacting because it's a voice speaking to the question(s) that those who hold positional power won't answer even when they see some of us being canibalized on their watch. Maybe they feel they have too much to lose? I guess we don't.

    Thanks for holding up the mirror. I'm with you. As for me and my house...

  18. First of all bravo!

    Second I would like to offer glint of hope. If we had not noticed, the apostolic movement is not exactly unified. While the national organizations may seem to be going in nonproductive direction they are not the whole story or even most of it. The local churches from what I have seen have been adapting to the situation on the ground and making the changes that need to be made. We can easily debate if the changes at a great enough rate but it seems to be in the right direction but it seems to be in the right direction.

    Whenever I get hopeless on the topic, and doomed to go Amish, I think of friend of mine, James who is a youth minister in the city of Cincinnati, and the work that he is doing with inner-city youth. He is neither cliché relevant nor hyper old-school, just real.

    The national organizations may catchup either way they will have new leadership over the next 20 to 30 years, maybe then. If not, oh well.

  19. I am so glad that you wrote this Joel. For the short time I have been reading this blog there has always been an under current of Anti UPC and this article confirms it. It saddens me that people need to go to Youth Congress or General conference or any other conference and they need the mighty preacher to preach a message that will stir them up only to go back in their non commital relationship with Jesus Christ. Or even need to go to see what we can tear apart about ourselves and justify our surface Christianity.

    Bro. Gaddy has preached several times at my church and I am sure your allogations of him not coming to preach at YC anymore is false as well as the "Danny Rivers" preachers. And I agree Bro. Gaddy is awesome.

    Yes you got allot of praise and allot of support from your peers on your blog and thats all fine and dandy. While your outpourings of emotion and sadness and willingless to be identified as a monster when thats not the case your soul is screaming at you to fast and pray and touch Jesus like you have never felt before. There are so many UPC'ers who grew up in the church just like you. Picking apart the church and organization when they should be spending their lives getting to know the God of all creation and submitting their lives to him.

    A question for you to ask yourself: Does the UPC preach the truth? ........My answer is YES! If you answer the same then you need to get on your face and get ahold of God and hold on like Jacob until you get what you need. Then embrace what Bro. Haney told you in your short interview "Souls, revival, Prayer, Fasting, dedication and commitment". If the answer is no then blow the dust off your bible and open it and find how one is to be saved and then live after that and find a church who believes it.

    I know what I am talking about. I was a Youth Pastor for 9 years and have been evangelizing for 3 years. I had an Apostolic (a word you have distorted on this blog) Youth Group. We had mighty moves of God where the gifts of the spirit were in operation and they led the church. They were hungry and desirable for God and thats because I presented them the road of Prayer and Fasting not an organization. Many have gone on to Bible School and many have gone on to ministry where all of them had said that our youth group where their greatest memories of God moving!

    God bless you Joel and many others who are looking for the next "thing" to feed how they are feeling instead of crying out to Jesus and saying "Make me what you want me to be"!

    Let the flogging of John Paul begin!!

    John Paul

  20. John Paul- the problem is not necessarily with any particular organization, upc, wpf,ect. this article precisely nailed the confusion of our collective (young person) apostolic identity. we aren't confused with what the truth is. (it is what the entire bible preaches) Rather our problem is stop the infighting within our organizations and how to express this gospel message to the world around us.
    All of my life i have been told to make a difference in this world that i was a part of the chosen generation destined to change the world. but to my horror as time went on i saw that as a movement apostolics were fading into mediocrity. we go to conferences to get preached stuff we should already know. our time would be spend on raising enough money to go to the next conference where we could have another move of God. rather than causing societal change. At youth congress 2007 it really was hammered home that in becoming gas tank Christians we are not making a difference to our world. we need to get back to the basics and be the church to a real world that is hurting instead of being in our own insulation bubbles. now I did not go to youth congress 2009 but I am saddened to hear the messages there do not echo the same sentiment of 2007. I agree the upc/wpf organizations preach truth but they each have their points of interpretation where it is different. as an apostolic movement we need to stop the infighting within our organizations and become the hands and the heart of Jesus to a world that needs us.

  21. But why are people fighting? What business is it that Sister Suzie let go of her standards? Or Brother Ron has a beard or whatever. There are too many People looking at other people and what they are doing in an organization instead of adopting the word of God and aligning their lifestyle to it. We don't change the word to fit our life but change our life to align to the word.

    The ones that drop standards, backslide, murmur, complain, gossip and backbite will have their rewards. you need to work out your own salvation and make sure that you life is flourshing with the Joy of the Lord.

    I heard recently Bro. Stoneking state this: I would rather have a church of 25 rapture ready than 2500 in my church going no wheres. Pastors are too focused on numbers and becoming relevant and pushing aside the conviction of God and using methods that do not create Christians or deciples of God!

    We all need to get our lives right and embark on personal evangelism and win this world. He is coming back. There is no time to be fighting about stupid stuff. If its in the book its for me!

  22. different interpretations of scripture. also i suppose it is human nature to be right whatever the cost. i wonder what have we gained in being right. if everything is lost.

  23. Line up with the word nak. In the end it's all that matters. I don't care if your UPC or Not. Its the book that matters. But I have found that the UPC doctrine is bang on. I didn't grow up in Church but experienced New Birth when I was 20. I know this is right.

  24. Oh captain, my captain.

    Thank you for this post. As I read, a symphony of feelings and emotions flooded through me. This post addressed a lot of what I have been fighting over the past few months. I am so glad that we are not alone in this fight for what is good and right. It may be the road less traveled, but that road is the one that leads to discovery. It is the road that people take to learn and to find out things about themselves that they could not have known any other way. I believe you have started something here, there is a movement behind this post. There is a map for those who are searching. There is food for those who are hungry and water for those who thirst. There is a difference. We are that difference.

    All for The One, The One for them all.

    Your Friend, AC

  25. John Paul,

    I don't want to hijack this blog... but of the points you make, I can't help but comment on this one. Give me the church with 2500 people going nowhere, instead of the 25 rapture ready! The 2500 need GOD!! I have influence over 100 times more people and through those people, their friends and acquaintances. I can always call Bro. --------- to come and preach a revival.
    Worth thinking about what you would really choose.


  26. I would like to negotiate a deal. You promise to convince your like-minded leaders that only want the rapture ready to stay put while opening, closing and including the following statement as a disclaimer in all formal and informal communications:

    "This assembly, our services and our relationships are for the rapture ready. We are not here for the needs of anyone who is not rapture ready. In our opinion, you are going nowhere wastes of our full truth."

    In return, I promise not to pollute the good thing you have going on with my presence, needs, contribution, faults, guests, outreach, etc.

    Plus, if someone errantly attends one of our wastoid dirtbag gatherings of infidels, looking for the rapture readies, I promise to refer them to you.

    Deal? Why not?

    Oh, it's a rediculous sarcastic thing to suggest. I see...kind of like anyone who thinks of themselves as a minister saying they would rather have the people that need to be ministered to not attend their service.

    This is why we flock to read others commenting on how something's broken within our organizations. We're not saying the truth needs to be rewritten. We're saying it needs to be reread.

  27. @Jeff - Good point Jeff. Keep making an influence and stand for truth and not let down anything and not only will you make an influence but you can influence souls for the good. Even Hitler today influences 100 times more than than 25 as well as their friends.

    @Brandon - I am glad that you put "Rediculous Sarcastic" Because thats exactly what your statement is. The context of this quote is for pastors to step up and preach truth no matter what.

    I am not part of a wishy washy truth, wishy washy God or a whishy washy way. The huge wave of what we are seeing in North America is Pastors preaching Visitor friendly nonsense to get numbers. No deciples are being made. The 5 fold ministry is being pushed to the way side. And what you are left with is many with their Lamps half full and not going anywhere.

    You know what we need? Is a Mass revival of repentance in the Church with myself included. Show me what miracles are being done in Emergent or post modernism.....You might as well get Blown on by Benny Hinn.

    There is a huge parallel of the wondering rebelious Children of Israel of the old testament to the church of today. We are straying from Christ and we think that we have been enlightened because we have "Reread" the bible. What so many Pentecostals are doing is adopting a "God without Laws" mentality.

    While many let go and walk with their "Personal Jesus" I will continue to bow before the king of kings and the Lord of Lords. Am I a minority on this site....? I guess I am.

    I pray all of you find what you are looking for regarding truth and even more than that Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith.

    Give me Love, Liberty and Disco :p

  28. I love how just because a church gets big they must be preaching "nonsense to get numbers." Sounds like someone got burned by a megachurch...

  29. in a traditional or a modern church, it is a miracle enough to be filled with the gift of the holy ghost. after that what more do you need? just because God can open the blinded eyes doesnt mean he will.
    as for lining up to God's full and unadulterated "truth" is it more important to follow what God says or what God means?

  30. @Anonymous hahaha Thats awesome...

    @nak Being filled with the HG is a Miracle. 100%. Church in the last days are going to be filled with miracles, signs and wonders. Just because God can open blind eyes I come EXPECTING him to do it. What church are you people part of? I thought that this was a UPC Blog???? Follow exactly what God says AND means. There is no "OR" There is no seperation. I would like someone to step out and expound their new revelations of the word of God. Please I am obviously Naive or not in the light or in the truth according to some on here.

    - What must I do to be born again?
    - Do I have to live Holy oputwardly?
    - What about worship? Do I have to worship like I see other pentecostals do?
    - What about seperation from worldly things? Do I really have to?
    - What about miracles? Do they happen?

    I preached a couple weeks ago in a Church and a woman who was in severe back pain was healed when I went and laid hands on her? Another lady healed of Cancer? So is that real or did her pain just go away on it's own? I will say that I am extremely shocked at what is being said in replys.

  31. I believe that God has used you and people have been healed, and Glory to God for that. No one disregards that.
    But there comes a danger in thinking because God uses you that you hold the copyright to what's right. Sir, I'm not trying to talk down or condescend you, or even say you're wrong about anything. Just don't think that because you're a preacher, evangelist and leader that God uses you're intellect or "revelations" are any superior to anyone elses. We're all fallible humans. We have different points of view and that's OK.
    Peter and Paul differed GREATLY in their points of view and tactics but they were BOTH disciples and BOTH used of God.
    I just wish we could all be disciples together, even though we disagree.

  32. This was actually an excellent response. I can honestly say that I am NOTHING. I truly believe that. I am so thankful for the kingdom of God and I am so thankful for the UPC. I really am. Jesus Christ is my life. I love him and the word. I not only know about him but I KNOW HIM! I serve him with humility and I am humbled to have the calling to preach the gospel. I will defend the gospel at all costs. Do I agree with everything that is going on in the organization....I couldn't care less but I know the UPC is bang on with Bible doctrine and that's where God has led me. Feel free to read my blog about Who Am I?

  33. @ John Paul...get your own blog!

    @ Joel.. Well done! Keep posting the truth.

  34. @ John Paul--- oh wait you have one!

  35. @John Paul (and others),

    Here is my deal with this discussion.

    None of us will dispute the fact that the UPC is a very blessed and anointed organization. A very valid argument could be made... if we are so blessed and anointed, why would we want to change anything.

    Here are my thoughts on why change is necessary...

    The "laws" (or standards) of the UPC were created generations ago by great, Godly men. In my opinion, many of the "laws" were based on the leaders interpretation of God's word with perspective of their current culture.

    As that culture has changed over the years, the UPC has held very dearly to it's "laws" with very little perspective of the current culture.

    To some degree we are starting to apply a little "cultural perspective" to the UPC's "laws." TV, for example, is hardly preached against. Why? Because in our culture TV is recognized to just be a medium... content is what makes TV good or bad... just like it is what makes internet, books, magazines, music, etc. bad.

    TV is just one instance though... what about all the literally 100s of other "laws" (by laws I mean written and unspoken, implied laws) that need to have a hard look taken at them from a Biblical and cultural perspective.

    I know that God and His Word NEVER change... people do, cultures do... Everyone wore robes in the Bible days... are we sinning because we don't wear robes? NO... the culture changed... not the Word!

    The more we cling to "old" cultural based laws, the more we alienate the modern generation we so desperately need to be reaching! These are the last days... these are desperate times... just because it worked 50 years ago don't mean it's what is best for today!

    I'm not saying let's abandon every "law" and tradition, but our organization needs a "law" overhaul. Let's have a convention of leadership and take a fresh, culturally relevant look at our organization and it's laws.

    Please don't read anything between the lines... I don't want to stray from the Bible... I don't want our organization to stray from the Bible... I just want our organization to reach as many people as we possibly can in these last days!

  36. @John Paul was the donkey God used special, was the burning bush a special bush that was fasting for a week before God used it. God uses what is available.

  37. @kp. I agree with most of what you said. You are right God and his word never changes. And you are right people do. Its time that the people go back to God and his word!

    Thumbs up John Wallace....?????

  38. Implying that those you disagree with have turned away from God and his word...

  39. We will never agree thats for sure. I am a UPC'er. I have no issues with the leadership or the doctrine. I am an old schooler and Always will be. There are too many lost for us to pick apart the organization and to bicker about not progressing tosome peoples standards.

  40. May I make a proposal for which we may find unity.
    The causation of the disunity amongst the Saints is a point of interest to myself for sometime now. My contemplations and observations have led me to the following thesis.
    First we can divide the Saints into approximately 3 groups; I choose three since two can be divisive and more is less useful.
    The first group of the saints are them who had grow up in a godly home and had no major interferences with their walk with God. This group seems to wish more or less the status quo and a desire for unity, as well they seem to tolerate members of the next two groups.
    The second group spent some time in the world prior to coming to Christ. They are acutely sensitive to the destructive power of sin since they've been burned by it prior to coming to Christ. For this reason they wish to set up rules to keep themselves and others as far away from since possible.
    The third group most likely but not necessarily grow up in a godly home but unlike the first group they learned about rules and not of Christ, most likely by no-fault of their parents or ministers. They are acutely sensitive to the destructive power of legalism since they lived under it and it kept them from both sin and God. For this reason they wish to abolish all arbitrary rules and be guided only by principles and their relationship with Christ.
    The problem that arises is that for both the second and third groups what brings them comfort is what terrifies the other group. One may also wish to argue that for the second and third groups fear is playing way too large a role in their faith.
    Unity would seem to require that both the second and third groups diminish the amount that their fear controls their faith and for each group to accept the other's differences. Quite often it seems the rules being argued are not matters of doctrine but matters of conscience. Paul speaks of such an incident in Romans 14 that involve vegetarians. His advice is for those who are vegetarians to remain vegetarians but to respect those who are not and for those who are not vegetarians to continue to not be vegetarians but respect those who are vegetarians. In short the saints of Christ are not a monolithic community that we are not all to be the same.
    Christ spoke of a narrow road leading to heaven. He did not however speak of a fishing line. A narrow road unlike a tight rope can tolerate some degree of spreading out amongst the group that is walking it.

  41. Wow.
    As another young preacher, I have nothing against our organization.
    I was at YC09. I agreed with Wayne Huntley, Wayne Francis, Tim Rutledge, and the others. As did my youth group. YC09 changed their lives. Callings were answered...I saw kids go from praying once a month to meeting after school consistently for prayer.
    Our generation needs to be "apostolic". Which is what was preached... We need to live separated, dedicated lives unto Jesus and be open to His spirit moving through and in well as taking it back to our home cities and changing them. That's what we were told.

    If all you got out of it was a bunch of old rules being beat over your head, maybe you should check your attitude and get over yourself and listen to the messages again. It was about us being the church we are called to be and not selling out.

    Stop with the whole "everyone is against me and I don't fit in anywhere" pity party and submit to the leadership God has placed you under. Instead of whining about it, why don't you pray about it? Isn't that what the Bible says?

  42. Ryan,

    I was not at YC09, so I can't speak first handed. I did, however, recently hear Bro. Huntley preach at a conference. He preached about being "apostolic", but he also preached a LOT of standards.

    I many people think "apostolic" and "UPC" are interchangeable. Not to say that we don't need standards, but to me "apostolic" has very little to do with "standards."

    Standards don't make us apostolic... never have and never will.

    Instead of harping on "standards" and what it takes to fit in with the "UPC", why can't we preach that holiness is a "heart issue." I don't think that it takes a skirt and long pants to be "holy," but I can assure you that I've seen plenty of unholy skirts and shirts.

    Why can't we preach that we need to guard our hearts against ungodly things, instead of bashing the "picture shows" and "sports arenas?"

    There are so many "fences" in the UPC that are designed to keep us safe and away from sin. How about let's trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us instead of man-made fences, because I can promise you that the fences are being trampled anyway...

  43. If all you got from that blog was a pity party then you're the one who needs the pity bud.

  44. @Anonymous. Ryan doesn't need the pity. This young man is used of God in a powerful way and it's because he knows who he is in God. He knows the "Why" aspect of what we do and can stand on his own. He is a Bible School Graduate and in transition with AIM.

    He was at YC09 and I am glad that he spoke up. Yeah their are some that are struggeling with Standards but I know I'm not and I know that Ryan isn't either. With that said there is a lost and dying world that is going to Hell and we need to get our lives in order to pull them out.

    For greater things have yet to come
    And greater things are still to be done in this City

  45. Dear God you people need to stop assuming everything is about "standards". Every liberal isn't liberal because of standards. It's so petty and dismissive to just slap that label on everyone.
    Allow me to point out a quote:

    "Out of every single sermon I heard that congress (6), not one mentioned the cross. 5 of them talked about us. Who we are. Jesus is alive in us. No need to mention the cross. We preached to ourselves about ourselves."

    Did you see that? Did he say something about standards? No. Our BIGGEST criticism of the UPC and YC09 is the lack of preaching about THE CROSS, GRACE, THE BLOOD or any such thing! And the ones that do have to "qualify" it (See "Qualifying Grace" post)

    There is A LOT some of us have problems with in the UPC and about 5% of it is standards, but everytime someone expresses discontent some moron has to jump to the conclusion that "Oh they just hate standards"

    Get over yourselves! Standards is an old debate we've moved past. How about having a problem with the fact that we've created idols out of types of worship, famous preachers, etc. How about the fact that we have so much self indulgent, self serving piety in our pulpits Jesus gets a passing mention as we harp about how great we are and how bad everyone else is!

    For crying out loud, get over the standards thing!

  46. First of all, I have to wonder why the "anonymous" comentator is allowed to comment. I thought the rules had changed on this blog.....

    Kudos to John Paul and Ryan for having the courage to be the lone dissenters on this post. It's funny how "anonymous" talks about idolatry, in particular with "famous preachers" but it's my opinion that this blog post in particular has put Joel in that very spot to those who are as disgruntled as he is. Suddenly, he is given the same "hero" status that he so hates.

    I have never been to youth congress. However, I find it shockingly presumptuous that just because the cross, grace and the blood were NOT preached that some would arrogantly DARE to be disappointed. You are telling me that you absolutely know the mind of God and these preachers didn't? It sounds to me that there was a certain thing that God wanted addressed at this meeting (just as there was at the '07 congress that Joel spoke of), so why can this not be accepted? Every meeting or camp meeting that I go to does not always mention the cross or the blood or grace.....there is usually a recurring theme. I don't sit there and criticize the preachers and assume they "missed it"! How totally arrogant!

    The bottom line is that there shouldn't be an option #3. If you don't like it - get out. You have the choice to do EXACTLY what you think is the right thing....since you obviously know what that is. Staying inside the denomination, talking about your dissatisfaction on this blog, only stirs up strife. Get on your face before God - as John Paul said - and seek God if you think there are so many things wrong. Keep your mouth shut. And choose to leave or stay.

    One last thing: All that do better make double sure you have PERFECT understanding....for the judgement you have just meted out toward these other preachers will be meted out back to you.

    Joel, I honestly do wish you the best. I just wish you would not stir up this strife over the internet and keep your turmoil between you and God.

  47. When did the apostolic church become an entity that does not allow for questions on how it is being run, and when did preachers become then end all of knowledge. When they start preaching non biblical standards, why we can't question where they are deriving these beliefs. I do not see where Joel has been turned into a "god". He is just reaching to where there is hurt to a generation who needs answers that are not being answered by the leaders of this day. Just because some people are brought to angry by the posts doesn't mean that this content should not be produced. There is an audience seeking and if there is one thing this blog has made me do is read my bible, pray and fast more for answers better then because my pastor says so.

  48. John: The issue isn't (as a rule) having questions. I have never met anyone who doesn't question something. The issue is how we handle our questions. Do we fast and pray and seek God (and study)? Or do we try to network with a whole bunch of people in the hopes that we find someone who "might see it our way"? Which way would please God?

    I come off really strong on this subject NOT because I have never questioned.....I have. But because I have felt God's hot displeasure at my handling of the questions. And I have learned my lesson by the mercy of God HOW to properly handle questions. I am sick in my stomach at the thought of others not receiving God's counsel and correction on this.....because I believe the end of that is destruction.

    Like I said...some questions are okay. Too many questions and questioning everything a preacher preaches simply IS NOT. It is plain arrogance. In this particular post, questioning "the theme" of what several preachers preached at youth congress stuns me. I call that type of preaching "out of the mouth of two or three witnesses....." so who am I to question?

  49. It isn't hard to ask everyone to speak on the same thing. I know of conferences where preachers were given a topic to speak on and asked to stay within their bounds provided. You are to question everything that is spoken and verify it against the living word of God. Where are the two and three biblical references provided for each standard that the apostolic church upholds. I follow the standards provided and really have no complaint to follow them, but I think that is the last thing that needs to be preached is standards. God is not in the standards the standards of your life should be set by your relationship with God. As he speaks into your life you should walk and establish the boundries to keep you and your relationship with the King of Kings. I cannot tell you how many testimonies I have heard about people having the standards revealed to them and how much more they uphold them, and appreciate what effect they have on their life.

  50. @JohnPaul

    "Ryan doesn't need the pity. This young man is used of God in a powerful way and it's because he knows who he is in God. He knows the "Why" aspect of what we do and can stand on his own."

    The majority of the people who know Joel would say the same for him. Just sayin..

  51. @Darla. Good catch! (re: anonymous)
    Apparently the setting that requires an account is off.

  52. @Darla ...Postscript: Since Joel so unthoughtfully nominated me to have an actual account on this blog, I have opened the floodgates for comments from anyone even without a google account.. Just make sure to number which anonymous you are if you choose such a route (e.g. Anonymous 1, Anonymous 2), and abide by the comment policy that is at the top of this page.

    From an earlier post this month. This change was made by a new writer Lloyd

  53. @Glen, I believe that without a shadow of a doubt. I believe that Joel is sincere and he is real and that he like several others on this blog are in a valley that is so dark that it could make them or break them. This is the defining moment. Now is the time to seek God like no other, get ahold of the word of God Completely and seek his pastors council on some issues that may not be in the bible but why he has them implemented in the church.

    Ask, knock and Seek after God.

  54. Cool man.

    One other thing I would say is that, while he, as well as the rest of us, could always spend more time in prayer, I know first hand that Joel prays and studies constantly. I feel like people assume that he doesn't, or doesn't enough because he hasn't reached the same conclusions as them. I understand the dissonance, but I sincerely wish people could know Joel like I know the guy.
    You will not find someone who studies more. I know for a fact that he spends 1-2 hours daily in prayer. He fasts often as well. The problem is that in text readers only get a one dimensional view of Joel. On this blog he may come off as snarky, arrogant or whatever, but he is always the first guy willing to sit down and discuss disagreements with an open mind. He has conversed with people I can't be in the same room with, as I have a much worse ability to put aside emotion. There are people who have berated him harshly on this blog, that I know he would have no problem sitting down with them and talking things out if ever given the chance.
    Joel will rarely speak up and defend himself on this blog, which is why I am.
    I just want people to know that the guy they're railing against isn't some arrogant, crude, jerk. He's a guy who CONSTANTLY has his nose in the bible, and other theological books, who is always praying, always fasting and always trying to do the right thing. As much as people disagree with what he's doing HE feels that this blog is 'doing the right thing'.
    If he were the person a lot of people here think he is then he would have been kicked out of UGST long ago. God knows people on here have tried to make that happen, and the faculty doesn't do it because THEY get to see the guy, talk with him, read his papers, and see first hand that he isn't just some liberal with a bad attitude.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't think that because he hasn't drawn the same conclusions as some of you that he must not pray or read. It couldn't be further from the truth.

  55. ::addendum::

    He's also the first guy to call me out when my attitude stinks. He's the first person to point to scripture and tell me to clean it up. I think that says something.

  56. @Darla I was not speaking of questions but of people who have found a right relationship with God. I was hopping to say they contrary to popular belief there is room in the body of Christ to disagree.

    I don't think anyone is doubting Acts 2:38. The doubting looks to be why fashion from 40 years ago dictats what is moral (see beards). Or why what we hear from some pulpits sounds more like the platform of the GOP then the Bible. How did I go to church for 20+ years and never hear Mathew 25.
    The problem is that when some of use prayed and sought after God about this we got answers like "Stop repenting [about X]. Where did I say that was wrong? Ya nowhere." Or "[I know your not like the stereotype] that is why I called you [to be a mister]."

    With that said, you are right about "Every meeting or camp meeting that I go to does not always mention the cross or the blood or grace.....there is usually a recurring theme. I don't sit there and criticize the preachers and assume they "missed it"!" Every group has its own needs and I would hope a bunch of kids who have been in church since they were a week old know about the cross, the Blood and grace.

    The questions that we as the body of Christ need to always be asking. (and asking with out calling each other heathens and legalists) Are there good ideas that are not from God but we are treating them like they were? Are there things from God we are not talking about? Are there things from God we have distorted? We applied this principle this way last year do we do the same or has something changed (not the principle but in or around us) and we need to find a new way to apply the principle this year?

    The key though is to do so and respect our fellow brethren (and sisters) at the same time.

  57. @John - great post. Especially the large paragraph at the end. Many of us have had our own version of Peter's dream, and realized that if we are to follow God it means setting aside some of our birth traditions, reaching out to the lost, and being misunderstood by our brethren.

    @Glenn - thanks for sharing the post re. Joel. and your own thoughts.

    @Darla - because God has given you "hot displeasure" at how you handled a situation, doesn't make that a principle that must be applied to others, such as Joel.

    @Comments - The trap it seems a lot of people fall into, is "God told me..." or "God dealt with me about..." ; therefore it must also apply to everyone else! Paul shaved his head because he had a vow, and a few other guys did. That doesn't mean I need to commit that standard.
    Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all his possesions... do you or I need to do that? Of course not, but the rich young ruler did.

    God dealing with us, is a special blessed moment... that applies to us. If He wants others to feel the same conviction, He has many ways of convicting and dealing with them. Apostolic is allowing other Christians the freedom to pursue Christ in their own personal manner.

  58. I love you Joel and Glen... Just sayin as one of the guys who was supposed to speak at NYC09.

    I thank God for my roots and heritage, but I am so amped about my present and future!

  59. First time poster - The last couple of comments made me think of something our bishop has always said: "Rigid in principle, flexible in application." Can this not also be applied in this context?

  60. Anonymous #777

    This post sounds like it was written by someone who has been disillusioned by their religion. I hope this dear brother can find a way to cope without giving up on Jesus.

    Its just about impossible to be a good Pentecostal without exalting Pentecost up above GOD, or at the VERY LEAST making Pentecost and God Himself synonymous. When we talk about *the Truth* are we distinguishing the difference between the church and Jesus? NO. The Church has become *The Truth*, not Jesus.

    Its hard to hang on, see the massive problems without becoming bitter. Hard but not impossible.

    Paul was a reformed Pharisee. He came out of a conservative church, found grace enough to eat meat, yet still had respect enough for the conservatives to abstain.

    When you have been in such tremendous bondage for so many years, and then you learn about grace and mercy it really makes grace that much sweeter. Thats if you can survive the bitterness and guilt and confusion, and trauma of having lived in the grip of Pentecost.

    Few can detach unscathed, who comes out still loving people nad more importantly loving God? Who comes out with their faith? Who comes out stronger? Few. Very few.

    And FTR, I agree with whoever said Angelina Jolie and Bono put us to shame in their service to the poor. The Bible talks more about giving to the poor than it does any other subject, yet standards are preached constantly and giving to the poor almost never.

    We are complete in Him, we Pentecostals have turned our churches into temples of idols, we have glorified Pastors over Jesus. Pride, so much pride.

  61. I have been to every NAYC since '99. '07 blew my mind. '09 broke my heart.
    Funny Mark Johnston's message was mentioned. He preached a series of messages at Indiana camp a few years ago, that inspired me to drown myself in the Word. It set me up for better spiritual discipline later (like now). If I could go camp out an any church in the U.S. right now, other than my own, it'd be The Journey.

    I appreciate the honesty that Joel has displayed here. He shows more love for the UPC than most of you realize, I think. Only things you really care about can hurt you.

    Thanks to everyone else for the honesty displayed here. Dialogue is good, if it's respectful.

  62. Sounds like the poster cares deeply about his religion, his church and most importantly his God. This post is not a slam on the orginization.

    I get it.

    Im there.

    Im sad.

  63. Joel, it's posts like these that make you the most influential youthful voice in this movement. I remember coming into contact with you shortly after NAYC 2009 ... and unbeknown to you or I ... we both were perceiving an agenda that now is well documented.

    The agenda, I believe continues ...

  64. As someone who has been pissed off by stuff on this blog before, I'd just like to share the handy lesson that if you don't get it (or were offended by it), then it wasn't written for you. You don't have to agree, or pity those who do, so I don't comment to try and convince people that everyone who reads this has to do one of those two things (agree or pity). I just want to testify that I've received a lot of what this post says in prayer and meditation on the word. I've never been to a single youth congress, but I get it, and God has spoken it to my spirit (yes I'm talking about the 3rd option), and I will obey.

    Because a lot of the time, God's pretty unpredictable and there's never any formula such as this + that = revival. Like when Jonah sat under the tree, waiting for the destruction of Nineveh. Or Elijah running away and living in hiding, or even Habbakuk learning "the just shall live by faith." I love this blog, becuase imagine what would've happened if David had kept all his turmoil inside and just "shut up?" I don't think we'd have the book of Psalms. Because the word of God is full of the turmoil that breaks down barriers... removing all the boundaries we try to put on God because we feel being His people entitles us to define Him and how He works.

    Ephesians 3:20, peace!

  65. @Anonymous #777,

    Awesome post.

    At Brittany - I'm right there with you. I was a camp kid and a youth rally enthusiast. We watched play out in our state what would eventually play out between 07 and 09. Under our former leadership (Wayne Compton) and then my former student pastor, things were heading in an awesome direction, and topped with my close friend leading our section... But then the modern day John Birch Society of our district started freaking each other out over the boogy-emergents hiding behind every corner and we wound up appointing a bunch of Christine O'Donnell's to the positions once held by progressives. Statements have been made by said leaders condescending the necessity for 20somethings ministries, saying that the demographic simply needs to "grow up", and several capable speakers and P&W leaders have been banned, including some of my close friends.
    The brief time since 2007 has been deplorable and leaves me questioning how the movement can have a future. No institution, corporation or sustainable entity has ever based its entire modus operandi on finger pointing, witch hunting and declaring it's own superiority. The coming years will be telling.

  66. Glen, thank you for sharing that. I am praying that God would guide the leaders of the UPCI (and denominations like it) to do what is wisest to reach our generation. Not just the elected ones mind you, but also the leaders without positions and titles.
    The "older than twentysomethings" won't be around forever.

  67. Joel,
    As an occasional peruser of this blog, I have resisted the urge to comment many times; however, this post deserves a comment. Bravo, good sir.

  68. @ john paul-it's funny how you and people like you KNOW what you believe is true. You KNOW that God exists, and that he's the God you think he is. You KNOW that you've seen through the lines and understand what the Bible is actually saying, and you KNOW that the others are just compromising or whatever. You KNOW that you're right, and that you've got that special truth, (referring to the truth of your doctrines of semantics and spirit manifestation evidence and how you've clearly define and unknowable and undefinable God as being one instead of 3) not the Truth that Jesus referred to when he said that he was the Truth. It's not even faith for you anymore. It's a code that you live by. You're kidding yourself.

    Anyway, this post was really good. Youth Congress totally sucked. I thought I was the only one that regretted going. I think I missed a concert I wanted to go to to be there. Bad choice. Bad choice.