Global Youth Day Gains Momentum Second year of initiative sees innovation, higher profile By Nathan Brown, Signs Publishing Company, Warburton, Victoria, Australia An annual day devoted to acts of compassion by Adventist young people around the world has grown exponentially in its second year. March 15, 2014, was designated Global Youth Day (GYD) by the Department of Youth Ministries at the Adventist Church’s world headquarters, a day of active community service to kick-start its annual Youth Week of Prayer.
Global Youth Day Gains Momentum
Second year of initiative sees innovation, higher profile
By Nathan Brown, Signs Publishing Company, Warburton, Victoria, Australia
An annual day devoted to acts of compassion by Adventist young people around the world has grown exponentially in its second year. March 15, 2014, was designated Global Youth Day (GYD) by the Department of Youth Ministries at the Adventist Church’s world headquarters, a day of active community service to kick-start its annual Youth Week of Prayer.
Challenged to “be the sermon” for at least one Sabbath, rather than simply hearing one, as many as 8 million Adventist young people stepped out of their churches and into their communities, visiting hospital patients and elderly people, bringing smiles to orphans, feeding the hungry, donating blood, conducting health awareness programs, praying with people on the street, and simply offering free hugs.
“As well as emphasizing the importance of service to our communities, the objective is to raise global awareness for the Week of Prayer, a time when Adventist young people around the around the world unite as a formidable powerhouse,” explains Gilbert Cangy, director of youth ministries for the world church.
According to Cangy, this broadcast and its supporting Web and social media presence was integral to the GYD event. “The live broadcast, our Facebook page, the tweets, the GYD Web page and app became the space where our youth met to share their stories and celebrate the goodness of God.”
Pioneering Technology for Connectivity
The inaugural Global Youth Day in 2013 included three hours of live broadcast. This was upped to 23 hours of live broadcast in 2014 from 20 production sites on six continents, coordinated from Adventist Media Center Stimme der Hoffnung in Germany and broadcast on the church’s Hope Channel internationally.
“The transmission of the signal from the local production sites to master control was done with IP-streaming equipment over the Internet,” explains production director Wolfgang Schick. “This was a new thing about the production and one thing that, to our knowledge, no one ever tried before.”
Schick admitted that there had been questions about meshing different production sites and possible different levels of picture quality. “But all in all it was a huge success, and the connection from all production sites worked,” he said.
The marathon GYD broadcast was augmented by an expanded online and social media presence, as well as a GYD app for both Android phones and iPhones. Coordinated by Daryl Gungadoo, distribution and network engineer for Adventist World Radio based in the United Kingdom, this multiple-platform interactivity almost tripled its engagement with young people around the world, compared with the figures from GYD 2013.
A Growing Movement
According to Stephan Sigg, director of youth ministries for the Inter-European Division, based in Bern, Switzerland, GYD 2014 also grew because of the positive experiences many young people enjoyed the previous year. “Global Youth Day 2014 grew simply by word of mouth,” he says. “Young people who were involved in 2013 spread the excitement, and now more youth and youth groups wanted to be involved and planned their service activities accordingly. Because the experiences and the impact of the GYD makes a lasting impression among the young people involved, we are still far from having reached the peak of involvement.”
Asked about his favorite story from GYD in his region, Sigg mentioned creative community outreach in Egypt and Dubai but then said there were too many to choose from. “To see young people sharing the good news in creative ways and being involved in so many different ways to show kindness to people on the streets, in hospitals, or old people’s homes, whether it was in Germany, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, and Portugal, was just amazing!” he says. “That’s my favorite story—that we have a God who moves young people to expand His kingdom.”
A Vision Fulfilled
The concept of Global Youth Day grew in response to what has been seen as the growing fragmentation of societies around the world and perhaps even in the church. “I was thinking about the whole idea of the Seventh-day Adventist young people being a global movement, this ‘army of youth’ we often refer to,” Cangy recalls. “I wondered how we could recapture for our youth this sense of global belonging.”
Cangy believes that more traditional corporate worship will always occupy an important role in the Adventist faith community. But he insists that GYD is also in itself “essentially an act of global corporate worship, albeit in a different form. If Jesus should come back on a Global Youth Day, He will find His people in the right place [see Matt. 25:34-38].” n
See more photos and reports
from Global Youth Day 2014 at
Youth Week of Prayer readings can be accessed at gcyouthministries.org/MediaPublications/YouthWeekOf Prayer/tabid/100/Default.aspx.
MOTIVATED: Young people in Athens, Greece, get ready to engage their community by poviding acts of service on Global Youth Day.
GLOBAL PRESENCE: Youth from Cameroon join 8 million young people around the world who in a single day reached out to help, serve, and pray for the people in their communities.