Amid ongoing concerns about the younger generation’s religious dedication, thousands of students attended a worship event aimed at equipping youth with the knowledge of Jesus.
The latest Motion Student Conference, which concluded on July 29 at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, hosted over 11,000 students representing 230 churches from 31 states and six countries. In addition, 2,000 volunteers assisted with organizing the event.
Motion is organized by the Church of the Highlands, a congregation with multiple locations throughout Alabama and Georgia. Attendees ranged in age from middle school to college and participated with their youth leaders.
Mark Pettus, president of Highlands College and associate pastor at Church of the Highlands, told The Christian Post in an emailed statement that Motion exists to empower a generation to live out Ephesians 2:10, which states: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
“It provides an environment where students discover their identity in Christ and set their faith in motion to do the good things He planned for them,” Pettus stated.
During the conference, students had an opportunity to attend sessions featuring speakers and worship band members before breaking into community groups to “unpack” what they learned, Pettus added.
“Motion is more than a conference and more than bands and speakers,” Pettus continued. “It’s about a generation of young people empowered by Jesus, equipped to make a difference and living out their faith.”
Students and youth pastors have gathered at Motion to engage in prayer, worship and Bible study for the past 15 years, Pettus explained, adding that Highlands Senior Pastor Chris Hodges and the church’s youth ministry team envisioned a conference at the end of the summer so students can begin the school year “enthusiastic to live their lives in motion for God.”
Students and attending groups pay a fee to cover the cost of the event; however, the Church of the Highlands offers scholarships, so money doesn’t prevent a student from attending. The funding for the scholarships comes from donations by church members.
“This generation of students is on fire for God. Students are seeking the love of Jesus, and it’s inspiring and motivating to see how they want others to know His love, too,” Pettus told CP in a separate statement.
As Pettus noted, the latest Motion Conference saw an 18% increase in attendees from last year, with the data accounting for the number of students that came to the event with their worship leaders. The associate pastor shared a quote from Hodges, who described the level of attendance as “encouraging.”
“Our heart has always been focused on raising up young leaders, and I’m convinced more than ever that this generation will change eternity by changing the world,” Hodges stated.
The Motion Student Conference comes amid reports that suggest Generation Z Americans are less dedicated to attending religious services.
As The Christian Post reported in February, the “Gen Z Post Election Research” polls released by the Walton Family Foundation and Murmuration in conjunction with SocialSphere found that only 28% of Gen Zers say they’re committed to attending religious services at least once a month. The survey also found that 14% identify as atheist or agnostic.
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