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2017 Teen Leadership Conference Changes Lives

Published July 27, 2017

Those who attended #tlc2k17—whether student, counselor or staff­—will be telling of how God worked during the conference for years to come. Participants left TLC revived and ready to ignite change wherever they returned.

The theme of the conference, #tlcserves—Genuine influence is being a servant, left students with an understanding of servant leadership and a desire to put what they learned into action.

Hundreds of students from across the country engaged in relevant and practical biblical teaching from dynamic CSU alumni speakers; including Andy Giessman (’00, ’07, ’10), Jeff Stimpson (’95), Tim Van Dalen (’01, ’08), Toby Locke (’98, ’07), Dan Francis (’05), Dr. Wayne Slusser (’12) and Mel Walker (’76, ’96). Students experienced high-energy, God-centered worship and pointed leadership challenges, along with both one-on-one and small group interaction opportunities.

TLC counselor and junior in CSU’s Communications-Writing program, Jesse King, said, “Having one-on-one conversations with my students blessed my heart when I was aiming to bless theirs. Their openness about their struggles and misfortunes in life, coupled with their choice to give these things to the Lord, encouraged me. I know that they have been set on a good path.”

TLC: Making a POWERful Impact

During the first week of TLC, the CSU campus was hit by a severe thunderstorm that knocked power out campus wide for a couple of hours. Students gathered in the Phelps Student Center where they ate dinner by cell phone flashlight as event coordinators worked to devise a plan as to how they would make the next main session happen without electricity.

After the meal, students headed over to the Recreation Center where they had a life-changing worship experience. RiSE lead an acoustic set, and participants worshipped with all they had. As the voices rang out in heart-filled worship, the power came back on and instrument-by-instrument the already amazing sound intensified until the band was back to their usual set. It was truly an amazing experience for all who were there.

Brianna Masterson, TLC counselor and junior in CSU’s Counseling program, said, “It was genuine, raw worship. A few songs in, during the chorus, the power came back on and the crowd roared. All you could see were hands in the air and students, counselors and staff surrendering all. It was an amazing experience, all in God’s plan. So many came to know Christ as their Savior that night. God used that thunderstorm and it changed lives!”

TLC: Not your Traditional Summer Camp

The spiritually-challenging messages and workshops at TLC transcend your typical summer camp hype. Speakers delve into issues of eternal importance that young people face today. Students who attend TLC are leaders in their schools and churches. They come to be fed and challenged spiritually, while still connecting with peers and enjoying an event-packed schedule.

TLC counselor and junior in CSU’s Elementary Education program, Anna VanderStel, said, “Many of my girls came into the week feeling distracted from God and were struggling to spend time with Him. By the end of the week, the girls shared about how much each session and workshop had convicted them of their selfishness and spirit of entitlement that had been keeping them from truly loving and serving God.” VanderStel continued, noting that, “In a world of many accessible distractions, being intentional about making God a priority is a must.”

Lasting Impact

TLC has a long history of impact, 47 years to be exact. Mel Walker, director of TLC, speaks to this fact, saying, “In the youth ministry business not many things last that long—not many things stay relevant. I think this is attributed to the fact that from the very beginning there’s been an emphasis on God’s Word, the practical outworking of God’s Word, worship and relationships.”

Teen Leadership Conference at Clarks Summit University looks forward to many more years of equipping young people to be agents of Christ-centered change wherever they go.

For photos of TLC, please visit the Teen Leadership Conference Facebook page!

-Jessica Eddy, junior in the Communications-Writing program

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