After Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, officially opened the Annual Council session on Thursday evening, Gary Blanchard, youth director for the Adventist World Church, led those present in a call and response exercise.
“Pass it on!” he called from the stage.
Following Blanchard’s instructions, everyone in the audience replied, “Identity! Mission! Leadership!” and then leapt from their seats, fists in the air, shouting, “Pass it on!”
Thus began the Annual Council session on LEAD, short for Leadership Education And Development. Prayer, then praise singing with students from Washington Adventist University put everyone in a Christ-focused mindset, and the New England Youth Ensemble performed an exciting and well-executed classical piece. Pathfinders from the Greater New York Conference demonstrated a tight drumline and marching drill as they carried in the flags.
Pathfinders By the Millions
A video, followed by an interactive Q&A led by Pako Mokgwane, associate youth director for the Adventist World Church, provided inspiring worldwide numbers regarding youth in the global church:
- 4 million in AY
- 0.5 million ambassadors
- 2 million Pathfinders
- 1.5 million Adventurers
“Each new initiative ignites an everlasting fire in the hearts of our youth that they can share with others,” Mokgwane said with passion. “Pathfinders is the youth ministry program with the strongest retention rate in the whole of the church. This is an important ministry.”
Blanchard gave the devotional, focused on the motto of the Department of Youth Ministries: Pass it on. He said all young people are asking the following three questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I belong?