Highlights from ASC2004

More than 3,200 people — including full-time field, property and Service Center staff, and their spouses, as well as the Board of Trustees and other friends of Young Life — came together for five days at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fla., this past January.
 
Special speakers
Notable speakers and friends of  the mission taught, challenged and encouraged staff. Speakers included Dr. Isaac J. Canales, Dr. Henry Cloud, Charles W. Colson, Howard Dayton, Dr. Les Parrott, Rebecca Manley Pippert and Joni Eareckson Tada. Several students spoke to the entire conference audience, sharing how God has changed their lives through Young Life.
 
Music for all
A cast of Denver, Colo.,-area musicisns led by Stan Sinclair led  worship. There were surprise performances from world-renowned musicians Michael W. Smith and Jars of Clay.
 
Dedicated to the mission
Several couples were honored for their ministry in Young Life: Dave and Beth Kanelos; Don and Heidi Myers; and Ray and Tosh Saunders received the Senior Staff Award of Excellence for their years of service in Young Life field ministry.

Jim and Melanie Mullen received the Committee Member Award of Excellence. Sam and Colleen Adams and Rollin and Margaret Wilson received the Volunteer Team Leader Award, recognizing their dedicated involvement in the mission as club team leaders.
 
A premiere showing
Conference attendees also saw a special premiere of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of
the Christ, followed by an appearance by Jim Caviezel, who plays the role of Jesus Christ in the film.
 
Denny’s challenge
Young Life President Denny Rydberg provided perspective on Young Life’s past, present and future. He looked back over the four years since ASC2000, a period of tremendous growth throughout the mission. Denny challenged the staff to continue reaching for the next kid and the next school and set a target date of 2010 for attaining the goal of 7,500 clubs and other special ministries.
 
Staff highlights
But the most telling highlights come from the staff who attended. Here is what some of them said:
 
“It was encouraging to hear how Young Life has made a difference in so many lives — from the kids’ testimonies to Joni [Eareckson Tada] to just the videos of kids from all over the world saying thank you to Young Life.”
— Donn Dirckx
 Claremont, Calif.
 
“Perhaps most helpful to my ministry was the sight and experience of being with 3,200 others who are in the battle. To hear stories of their faithfulness and fruitfulness and to be inspired by the creative ways they minister helps fuel my passion for the coming year of work and sacrifice.”

— Erik Bonkovsky
Holland, Pa.
 
“Watching The Passion of the Christ and feeling like I was there reminded me what Jesus did for me. It helped me want to better recreate the story of the Gospel for our high school and middle school friends.”
 
 — Ron Mayott
Granbury, Texas
 
“It was also really good to just sit and be with fellow staff and talk about ministry and remember why we do what we do ...”

 — Shannon Egan
Littleton, Colo.
 
“It was a highlight to be alone with my wife without my three children for four days for the first time since our marriage seven years ago. Praise God.”

— Matt Kane
Wynnewood, Pa.
 
“The entire conference refocused me in such a way that I’m motivated beyond words to do my job better and to fall more in love with the Savior.”

— Chuck Rodgers
Abilene, Texas
 
“The conference gathered noteworthy people who taught from their experiences. They also had understanding of and familiarity with Young Life to give applicable talks, not only to our personal walks with Christ, but also to our ministry.”
— Emily Kurtz
Virginia Beach, Va.
 
“I felt like I was a kid at camp for the first time with all the surprise elements, the excellence in everything, the laughter and feeling like all this was done for me!”

— Amy Holloway
Matthews, N.C.