Baptist youth gather in Singapore
About 2,500 youth from more than 60 countries are attending the 16th Baptist Youth World Conference July 17-21.
By Eron Henry
German Baptist youth leader Christian Rommert reminded youth from more than 60 countries gathered in Singapore that life in Christ is not about rules or systems but relationships.
Rommert cautioned the 16th Baptist Youth World Conference against "going through the motions (of worship) without the inner motivation" and against "having the habits of faith without the heart of faith" in a morning meditation kicking off second day of the July 17-21 event.
Denise de Vasconcelos Araujo, elected first female president of the BWA Youth Department in 2008, opened the gathering with a welcome and roll call of the more than 60 countries officially represented at the event.
BWA General Secretary Neville Callam urged the approximately 2,500 youth "to defy the destructive secularism that seeks to push religious faith to the fringes of society" and to "let the world know the undeniable truth that faith in Jesus Christ is alive and well."
Youth were also reminded that a commitment to justice is part of the call to being Christian. Wado Saw, a Myanmar refugee in the Mae La camp on the Thai-Myanmar border, testified to the difficulties faced by the tens of thousands of refugees from Myanmar who have been displaced due to conflicts in their homeland. Despite their desire for home, it is unlikely that their dreams will be realized anytime soon.
On each day of the conference, youth delegates gather in the Global Village to interact with each other and engage in cultural exchanges. The Village comprises exhibition booths, a "fringe stage" for youth to display their artistic talents and a social media center where they can upload and share media content while conference events stream live.
The Baptist Youth World Conference, sponsored by the BWA every five years, is being held at the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Callam expressed hope that those attending the conference will "find opportunity for the renewal of your faith as you hear stories of young people from around the world whose lives are being transformed through their fellowship with Christ."
© 2014 Associated Baptist Press, Inc.