How I Attended the Follow 12 Wesleyan Youth Convention (without leaving home)

12.31.2012 — 2 Comments

Our Wesleyan denomination has a wonderful tradition of hosting what we call “Youth Conventions”. Since 1965, every four years the denomination hosts a “National Youth Convention” and the 2012 National Convention came to a close on December 31st. This year’s convention was called “Follow ’12” and was held in Louisville, KY on December 28-31.
Follow 12
I have been attending Wesleyan Youth Conventions since 1992 as a student, then as a youth pastor. This was the first convention I wasn’t able to attend (in person) in 20 years! With these conventions being a part of more-than half of my current life, it will come at no surprise that NOT being able to attend this year’s convention was met with a season of withdrawal and denial on my part. It wasn’t until the day before the convention began that I realized how I would be able to experience a small portion of the convention while not being able to be there in person through the social media avenues I use everyday.

Reading Tweets from youth leaders and students who were traveling by plane, train, and automobiles from their location in the US to the convention location in Louisville brought back some fond memories of those often excruciatingly difficult trips I took as both a student and leader. Memories of our chartered bus crashing into a light pole in the wee hours of the morning as well as memories of me having to pull over at a rest area and shut my eyes for an hour as a driver came flooding back to me as I read some of the following Tweets:

And as the youth and leaders arrived on-site in Louisville, the Tweets kept flowing as they began to see what they were in for:

Later, as the first rally began and students began responding to the Gospel message, I was overwhelmed to read Tweets like this:

And throughout the event, students and youth leaders continued to post messages of life change as hundreds responded to the Holy Spirit and allowed Him to do a transforming work in their hearts and lives:

Through Twitter and Facebook, I was able to see photos and even some video clips of some of the special guests at Follow ’12, too! Including Jamie Grace, Drew Worsham, and DJ Promote:

Reading the end-of-event Tweets, also brought back fond-memories of the exhausting satisfaction that comes with the end of a youth convention:

I’m still going through some Tweets and recapping some of what was said by some of the speakers during the event:

My buddy, Heath Mullikin was on-site at the convention getting some great interviews with students, leaders, and guests too! I’m thankful to have been able to see some of his interviews and other video content!

The Exhibit Booth Tour:

Interview with speaker, Keith Loy:

Interview with seminar speaker, Brian Head Welch:

Interview with speaker, John Vermilya:

I’m thankful for the Follow ’12 leadership team for not only putting on a terrific event, but also for encouraging participants to literally involve the world in what was taking place by using social media to update friends and family.

  • Money Wise Pastor

    Stevan, thanks for sharing your experience!

    I also followed Follow12 via social media since I couldn’t attend in person. What I loved about the tweets and Facebook posts I saw is that people shared the “nuggets” of truth and wisdom that meant something to them. So I was able to get the highlights of what people heard and experienced, and also learn how it personally impacted them.

    Whoever invented the hashtag should receive an award, eh?

  • Matt Brady

    I enjoyed your twitter recap of Follow ’12, since I was also among those following along from home. Thanks for sharing!