National Youth Convention, Fine Arts Festival, and AIM 10.2 Canceled
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These three leaders all agree that the decision was extremely difficult, with the COVID-19 pandemic being only one of the deciding factors. The key factors impacting the decision included health, travel, finances, and district events as some districts held Fine Arts evaluations and some were canceled.
With millions of people newly unemployed, businesses struggling to survive, churches unable to gather, and students/youth groups seeing fundraising opportunities in order to afford the trip to Columbus, Ohio, disappear due to physical distancing rules, Columbus20 became unattainable for many churches, pastors, families, and students.
Although cancelling Columbus20 also has a financial impact on national AG Youth Ministries, Wellborn says that finances weren’t their main concern.
“My biggest concern has less to do with a fiscal deficit this could create, and more to do with a spiritual deficit,” he says. “The encounters that students have during worship and altar times at National Youth Convention are powerful — like youth camp only with close to 10,000 people in attendance. We are praying with our district youth directors, believing the Holy Spirit will speak to us about filling this gap. We know God has a plan, and we want to be obedient to it.”
Even with the cancellation of Columbus20, plans are already underway for the 2021 youth events to be held in Orlando, Florida. The AIM trip to El Salvador is rescheduled for June 28 - July 6, 2021. The National Youth Convention, Fine Arts Festival, and Orlando AIM outreach will coincide with General Council in Orlando, Aug. 2-6, 2021.
National Youth leaders also have a video message available that unpacks the decision, with Wellborn, Hoffman, and Poe all sharing their perspectives, insights, and words of encouragement.
“As we look past this worldwide crisis, imagine next year gathering together again for Orlando21,” the leaders said in a release. “What a celebration it will be! Until then, may the Lord bless your efforts to discover, develop, and deploy the gifts He has given students across the U.S.”