Members of Sarah Rodriguez’s youth group are set to attend their first Follow Youth Conference this December in Cincinnati, Ohio, and they couldn’t be more excited. At present, eight of the 15 youth group teens are scheduled to attend. This will also be the first Follow for Rodriguez and her husband, Rev. Johel Rodriguez.
The Rodriguezes planted Avivamiento Latino Church in Durham, North Carolina, six years ago. A predominately Hispanic church, the youth ministry has grown a lot this past year. Many of the youth began attending church before their parents. Moms and dads became curious when they saw their kids’ excitement for church and now attend too.
Rodriguez serves as assistant pastor at the church and assists with the youth group, named “AVIVAME YOUTH” (REVIVE ME YOUTH).
She first heard of Follow in the summer of 2018 at Renuevo, a Hispanic family camp. Rodriguez heard about it again at The Gathering this past January and returned home eager to announce to the youth group about the possibility of attending.
Rodriguez believes the anticipation of attending Follow has created a lot of unity in the group. The teens are getting more excited and serious about regularly participating in youth group. The teens are reading the Bible and asking questions about it while also bravely sharing their faith with others.
“The kids are really looking forward to Follow, and we are so excited to experience more of God during and after Follow,” said Rodriguez.
“The students are hungry and ripe for God’s Word,” said Beatrice Parker, youth leader at Avivamiento. “I’m excited about the work God is doing.”
Avivamiento Latino Church youth leaders see the importance of investing time and resources into Follow, and the kids are watching them step out in faith as they trust God with the finances to get everyone there.
“We are excited to invest in our youth and are praying over this event, for safety and for hearts to be receptive,” said Rodriguez. “We believe God will do a work in our students and they will return to Durham with hearts excited to serve Jesus and others.”
Rev. Zach Coffin, director of Next Gen Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church, said, “Sarah’s heart for the next generation is evident in both her words and action. She equips and then allows them to lead now.”
Coffin said he, “often hears churches ask the question, ‘Where can students serve?’ A better question is “’Where can’t they serve?’”
Coffin is praying faithfully that the Holy Spirit would move in hearts in powerful ways in conjunction with Follow — for Rodriguez’s group and so many others attending Follow.
“My prayer for Sarah’s group and the other churches attending Follow is that our students will have their own encounter with Jesus and say, ‘yes’ to whatever he is asking them to do,” said Coffin. “It’s our responsibility to help them discover their ‘yes’ and then unleash the keys of leadership as we empower them to become who God is calling them to be.”
Wesleyans are invited to pray for Follow and those who will attend. Pray for:
- Every student to say “yes” to the whisper of God’s voice
- Every student to say “yes” to their kingdom calling
- Follow to be the spark of a fresh revival
Learn more about Follow or register for the event. Registration ends tomorrow, December 3.