By Kim Parker
Almost immediately following WOW 2015, the theme was declared and the artists were selected. The theme was “Metamorphosis.” The Scripture was 2 Corinthians 5:17 - “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten and everything is new.” Many hours of dreaming, planning and praying had been invested into WOW 2016. The stage was set, and the winter weather here in Missouri had made its way through Springfield and looked cold but clear. Youth groups were registered, adults safe sanctuary certified, and buses loaded and making their way to the Expo for a “Metamorphosis” kind of weekend.
However, I am reminded of the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans.” Friday night as the Youth Leadership Team was gathering, many of us were on our cell phones texting, calling and scrambling to fill two critical voids created by the East Coast snow storm “Snowmaggedon.” Our keynote speaker Rev. Telley Gadson and our worship band “I Am They” were completely snowed out.
Through many prayers and diligent efforts from an ever-flexible Youth Leadership Team and adults, including the Expo’s staff, God provided the resources we needed. In fact, our plan B turned out to be better than we could have ever imagined. Without missing a beat, poet Dale Fredrickson graciously became our keynote speaker. Praise from St. Louis, The James River Church worship band from Springfield, and the Central Methodist University worship band led us in amazing worship at every opportunity. Danny Ray kept us spellbound with his creative illusions, while Jay Clark kept us jumping with his camp songs and warm funzies. Big Al Cherry kept us dancing and ready for worship throughout the weekend. Big Al and Dana Mitchell started the weekend with a worship experience that set the tone for an encounter with our life-changing God. The “In Depth” afternoon sessions gave us opportunities to grow and explore new ways to share our faith in mission and everyday living.
Sometimes we are blessed as we see that, in spite of our perfect planning and well-developed programming, God often has another plan and reminds us that God is in control. We are grateful for the strong leadership in the Next Generation Ministries and the Youth Leadership Team here in the Missouri Annual Conference. We are thankful for the many men and women that took time to share their ministry with us “In Depth.” Most of all, we are grateful for an ever-present God who is constant and who gives us life-changing moments that shape and reshape us into a beautiful new creation.