The 16th Baptist Youth World Conference in Singapore kicked off with 15 seconds of energetic drumming by the Okinawa Power Drummers from Japan followed by a four-minute set by the conference band led by Vesekhoyi “Vee” Tetseo, playing the theme song REACH!, an original composition by Tetseo.
Denise de Vasconcelos Araujo, elected first female president of the Baptist World Alliance® (BWA) Youth Department in 2008, extended welcome, including to Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, before she led the roll call of the more than 60 countries that have official representation at the event.
BWA General Secretary Neville Callam urged the approximately 2,500 youth “to defy the destructive secularism that seeks to push religious faith to the fringes of society” and to “let the world know the undeniable truth that faith in Jesus Christ is alive and well.”
The BWA leader expressed the hope that those attending the conference, planned and sponsored by the BWA and normally held every five years, will “find opportunity for the renewal of your faith as you hear stories of young people from around the world whose lives are being transformed through their fellowship with Christ.”
Callam encouraged the youth to share their faith, to submit themselves to Christ, and to “discover new dimensions of that true joy that is to be found through friendship with Jesus.”
Edmund Chan, main speaker at the opening event, declared that “the deepest need of humanity is forgiveness of sins” and that “we (Christians) have the answer to the deepest need of man.” The answer, he said, lies in transformation, which is to become like Jesus Christ. This transformation comes through discipleship.
Chan, a Baptist pastor in Singapore, said “the gospel is not about making bad people good but enabling those who are dead (in spirit) to be alive, waking those who are asleep, and making those who are awake, alert.”
Other participants in the opening event included the Baptist Church of Mizoram in India, classical guitarist Joey Woch from Nagaland in India and Tallowood Players, a drama group fromTallowood Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, in the United States.
The Baptist Youth World Conference is being held at the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre from July 17-21.
Baptist World Alliance®
© July 17, 2013