Baptist Youth Conference to Gather 10,000 in Europe

Up to ten thousand Christian youth are expected to attend the fifteenth Baptist World Youth Conference in Leipzig, Germany, from 30 July to 3 August 2008.

The conference director, Emmett Dunn, has described the conference as "the world coming together", with participants expected to come from across the globe for the event.

Past youth conferences have taken place in Houston, Texas, in 1998 and Hong Kong in 2004, which drew 8,000 youth from 87 countries and 4,000 youth from 66 countries respectively.

The 2008 conference will gather under the theme 'Dive Deeper', urging believers to commit in a deeper way to following Jesus Christ in studying the word, in mission, as well as fellowship.

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) said the programme will include events for collective worship and study, such as morning worship services, concerts, and evening sessions with keynote speakers. There will also be small group experiences. All conference participants will be divided into family groups of 20 to 25 persons to discuss the Bible study presented in the morning service.

A 'Global Village' will also allow youth to experience and interact with other cultures. As youth walk through the Global Village they will encounter music, dance, artefacts, artwork and storytelling from many of the diverse cultures of the Baptist Church worldwide.

Missions will be a key emphasis of the conference, the BWA has said. There will be opportunities for youth to engage in mission projects prior to and following the conference throughout Europe. All projects will be geared towards evangelism and will include activities like sports workshops, work in orphanages and hospitals, children's camps, and construction.

Youth will also have an opportunity to reach out to communities in Leipzig, the small eastern German city that is home to half a million people. One afternoon has been set aside for the conference participants to minister through music and arts in five different locations around the city and then the youth will come together for a large worship celebration in Leipzig's city square.

"We want to engage the Leipzig community," explains Dunn. "We want to bring the conference to the people of Leipzig.

"The youth conference is not just an event, but an experience," says Dunn.

Dunn concluded: "It can be easy for youth to get discouraged, especially those who come from small and sometimes impoverished communities. The youth conference enables these youth to see that they belong to a large and very diverse group of people called Baptists. The youth conference challenges youth first to be more committed to Christ, but also to be confident of who we are as Baptists and to realise the freedom they have as young Baptists."

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[Source: BWA]

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