"Don’t Fake It " was a fitting theme for Senior High Assembly 2008, held July 7-11 at Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tenn. More than 100 youth – mostly strangers – were thrust into a whirlwind of people being real for God through worship, interest groups, fellowship and free time.
Senior High Assembly is so much more than a weeklong Christian conference. Relationships are built, worship is meaningful, and most importantly of all, Christ is at the center of it all.
Worship sessions were remarkable experiences. Hillsong United’s “Take It All” rang through everyone’s head along with the Rev. Sarah Slack’s messages about relationships, love, and service. “Find the 01” played songs that broke through to everyone’s hearts, such as their self-composed song, “Make Me Real.”
Strong friendships were built within family and interest groups. Family groups offered opportunities for students to discuss even the deepest parts of their relationships with God, while building lasting friendships with each other. Family group “mothers” and “fathers” served as mentors. Interest groups (songwriting, photography, college-focused) pulled participants from their comfort zones, providing new experiences, deepening their relationships with God, and intensifying worship.
The Festival of Gifts and Talents showcased a variety of blessings. Many people sang and danced, and there were some unusual talents as well. Following the festival, the “Worship Arts” interest groups led everyone in a meaningful worship experience. The dance and songwriting groups offered expressions they had worked on all week, and Slack preached. Family groups then share Holy Communion.
The week wasn’t all about seriousness; there were also many fun activities, including a 200-foot "slip-and-slide"; beach party; ultimate frisbee; a carnival and inflatable toys; and YSF night. (YSF stands for Youth Service Fund.) YSF Night included the junior high and senior high groups battling each other in a game of “Hiwassee Squares.” The seniors won two out of three matches of trivia questions about YSF and Holston Conference.
Assembly, like most other Holston youth events, came too slow, and ended too quickly.
* Remy is a youth member at Eden UMC in Johnson City District.