6 Things To Remember About PCTC 2014

I went to my very first PCTC this weekend in Harrisburg, PA.

PCTC stands for Pursue Christian Teen Conference.  It’s a conference held each year at the Harrisburg Hilton which is designed to help teenagers take the next step in pursuing Christ.  This year’s theme for PCTC was The Walking Dead.  Conference planners, speakers, and singers used zombies (walking dead people) to help the teenagers learn and have a blast.

The weekend left me exhausted and uplifted.  Hanging out with teenagers for an entire weekend is a stretching experience to say the least.  They have endless energy and unbelievable passion for life.  Students today are facing bigger issues than I ever realized.  They are coming from broken homes.  They are challenged in their faith by a world which seems to be pulling them away from Christianity.  They are in pain.  They even hurt themselves in order to relieve some of the pain inflicted by others.  These students need hope in their lives.

PCTC provides a place and opportunities to inject hope into the lives of these teenagers.

I have a lot to process as I recover from my first PCTC experience.  Here are six of the thoughts and memories running through my head:

6 Things To Remember About PCTC 2014

  1. Next year, I need to take the day after PCTC off from work.  I did not realize how much energy PCTC would entail.  Teenagers apparently don’t require as much sleep as adults which is okay.  I just wasn’t quite ready for it.
  2. Bert Crabbe did an amazing job teaching the high school students.  I will look at the story of the leper and the paralytic much differently thanks to Bert’s marvelous story telling.  We are all unclean like Steve the leper.  We need Christ to make us clean.  We need to be like Fred the paralytic’s four friends.  We need to bring our hurting friends to Christ.
  3. Worship was amazing.  I know it took our students a little while to get used to the different music and style of the worship band.  Despite some technical glitches with the projector, I felt drawn to God through our times of worship together.  We don’t typically get extended periods of time to sing like this in our typical church services or youth group meetings.  PCTC provided the time and place for more focused times of worship.  I came home singing several songs.  More importantly, I came home with a deeper desire to connect with God.
  4. We have great students.  Saturday night, our students gathered after the main session to debrief together.  During this time, students were given the opportunity to share how PCTC was impacting them.  I heard countless stories of renewed hope, of new passion for following Christ, and of connection with each other.
  5. We have great adult leaders and a great youth pastor.  Trips like this do not happen without a lot of planning and prayer.  I am so honored to serve alongside other leaders who get it.  They are willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and resources to help students grow closer to God.  I am so thankful for these people I call friends.
  6. Cut the crap.  Rocky, the high school program host, shared a story about a man from Harrisburg who told him to “Cut the crap.”  I will always remember this story.  Here’s the basics of this story:  If we walk away from PCTC only remembering the great music, the great speakers, and the fun activities, we need to cut the crap.  PCTC is ultimately not about these things.  PCTC is about Christ.  That’s it.  And this is what our lives should be about also.  If it becomes focused on other things, we need to cut the crap.

I’m sure there are other things to remember.  And everyone who went will have a different take on their experience.  I had a blast.  And I’m already looking forward to going again in 2015.

If you went to PCTC, how would you describe your experience?  When was the last time, you went on a youth retreat or conference?  What do you remember about that experience?