Clothed in Christ: Two Weeks of the GenOn Youth Summits

Posted by Liz Perraud at

GenOn’s Youth Summit Coordinator, Kelly Burnett, journaled her way through Summit East and West 2018 to provide a small glimpse of what it is like to experience each week of this kingdom of God living.

High school youth, young adults, and their adult leaders return summer after summer to grow in Christ-centered relationships with people across geographical and denominational lines, and to deepen their relationship with God.

We are grateful beyond measure for the leaders who plan and produce these annual youth summits, a core component of the ministry of GenOn for nearly 50 years. As Kelly always asks, “Will you be joining us next summer?”

Summit West will take place from July 7-13, 2019
Summit East will be from July 14-20, 2019

Here's what Kelly wrote...

I am blessed to spend this week at GenOn Youth Summit West in Estes Park, Colorado. LIVE IN PEACE was our theme for the week with a focus on Colossians 3.

"...clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience."

We started with a great worship service with a message by Todd Barlow, continued with some good conversation and lessons in Bible study, started learning our new songs during choir, had lots of fun in our activities, and ended the evening with a prayer vigil outside under the stars (of course with adventures in between!). 'Twas a GREAT day!

Today we started with worship led by Pastor Leigh Benish, who spoke to us about the impact the kindness of her childhood church family had on her life. We then headed to Bible study where we talked a lot about Mr. Rogers as a great example of someone who lived being KIND. It was also our Mission Project Day so we branched out to four different places in Estes Park to lend our help. After a reflective Taize style vespers, we surrounded our friends from Sun Prairie, WI, who learned of an explosion in their community back home. Please keep the community of Sun Prairie in your prayers.

Today we started with worship led by my dear friend Carol Knapp who spoke to us about the importance of humility. She reminded us that we SHOULD take pride in things but NOT get "puffed up" about them.;) We then headed to Bible study where we chatted about the differences between pride and boasting…which sometimes draws a fine line! After choir and activities, some groups enjoyed adventures in the Rockies before we had a YUMMY cookout -- filled with sing-a-longs, open mic performances, and lots of laughing! It was another beautiful day in the Rockies!!!

Today was our annual Inversion Day and we headed out to great adventures for the first half of the day and then reassembled for Bible study and a very contemplative musical vespers service led by Tom Bryant, Denise Utter, and Allison Benton. Pastor Rick Atchley reminded us in adult Bible study that sometimes it takes a lot of strength to be gentle! It's good to remember that when we're striving to LIVE IN PEACE.

Pastor Rick Atchley preached today about his recent experiences with needing to have a lot of patience after a very serious accident. It's hard to Be Still and WAIT! It's important to remember that what might be meant for BAD can turn to GOOD. It was hard to imagine that our week was coming to a close and we tried to be present with each other all day long and not anticipate our departure from this beautiful community in this beautiful place. After another fun day of recreation and exploration, we closed our evening with our final worship with a message from Director Ron Motley, complete with our three newly learned anthems and individual cross presentation during communion.

THIS BRINGS US TO TODAY … Saturday, July 14, 2018. We all headed out from Estes Park this morning and are venturing home. Some had shorter trips than others but some are still on the road. Please lift each other up in prayer until we all arrive home safely.

It's week #2 of GenOn Youth Summit ... this time on the East Coast in Wheeling, West Virginia. Our theme is CLOTHED IN CHRIST --- with a focus on Colossians 3.

We kicked-off Sunday evening with a message by Director Beth Foster that set up our theme of CLOTHED IN CHRIST. It was great to see old friends and to meet some new ones. It's going to be a great week!

We started the day with a heartfelt sermon by Toby Montgomery reminding us to show compassion for our "neighbors" - especially because we don't always know what someone might be going through to make their life hard. The praise team continued to teach us our theme song "Dream Small" by Josh Wilson (which has GREAT lyrics, so take a listen)! We had some good conversation and lessons in Bible study followed by lots of fun recreation activities. Later in the evening, we started digging into our parts during worship arts in preparation for Friday's closing worship. After vespers, we ended the evening with a fun scavenger hunt led by our young adults. 'Twas a GREAT day and all are "Happy Tired" tonight.

Today we started with a message by Annie Paye, who spoke to us about the impact kindness has had on her life. We then headed to Bible study where we talked a lot about Mr. Rogers as a great example of someone who lived being KIND. It was also our Mission Project Day so we headed out to many different places in Wheeling, WV to lend our help. After dinner, we continued working in our worship arts groups, which include singing, photography, sign language, liturgy writing, chimes, and a speakers' choir. It will be great to see the offerings our groups will bring to Friday's closing worship service. After a reflective vespers, we had a great time at the all-summit dance! It was another FUN-FILLED day at GenOn Youth Summit East 2018!

We started our morning with a message by Katherine Gorman who reminded us that it's okay to be good at what you do and to be proud of your accomplishments; but we need to be careful with the fine line between pride and boastful. Let's remember to use our gifts to build others up! We had good Bible study (8 groups in all) and lots of fun in our various activities and fellowship activities in the afternoon. After a delicious cook out, we spent time in our worship arts groups and then shared a vespers activity with music and a lesson. It was a fun, busy day and we all slept well.

Our message this morning was delivered by Noah Teshome.  He reminded us to be open to RECEIVING Jesus’ gentleness, too!  Our Bible study focused on examples of Jesus’ gentleness with even “accused” people and his reminder to us all that we need to be careful with passing judgement.  After our regular “busy-ness” of the mid-day, learning with our worship arts groups, and a GENTLE vespers period, we enjoyed the annual variety show … chock full of LOTS of fun, laughs, and talent!

WOW … our worship this morning was led by Joe Lundy, who shared a message entitled “Perfect Timing.”  Joe has attended Summit as a youth, a young adult, and now as an adult getting ready to enter seminary this coming fall.  He reminded us that we need to HOPE for the unseen … patiently!  God has “stuff” planned for us and, if we’re patient, we might enjoy the journey more!  We were more aware that our week together was coming to a close and we were reminded to stay present with each other and not anticipate our departure from this beautiful community we get to share at Summit!  Pastor Jon Nelson shared the closing worship message with us and pointed out that these “new clothes” we talked about this week don’t always fit comfortably at first … but we need to wear them in and remember these attributes when we head back home in the morning!  After sharing communion together, we had a GREAT dinner prepared by our hosts at Wheeling Jesuit University and then had lots of time to be in fellowship with each other. 

We head out in the AM to return home … some closer than others.  Please keep each other in prayer until we know everyone is home safely!

Kelly Burnett
Youth Summit Coordinator
GenOn Ministries

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