Excitement among Foursquare’s NextGen leaders is on the upswing following the NOW Young Adult Conference that saw numerous words of wisdom, prophetic encouragement and healings amid an atmosphere of spiritual hunger.
“The NOW Conference demonstrates young adults’ desire to gather in a Spirit-filled atmosphere and to glean,” says Marcus Ellington, NextGen’s national team leader and a speaker at the Dec. 30-31 event in Arlington, Va. “I believe that God desires to see this generation living on purpose and mission for His kingdom, regardless of their age.”
“The young adult age group is a hot spot for our movement where that hasn’t been a lot happening,” states Ty Austin, the Atlantic District’s NextGen coordinator. “God is wanting to do a movement within our movement, and I think it’s going to start with young adults.”
Marcus says NextGen is developing a network of NextGen regional pastors and leaders to serve as a resource for churches. It is also forming strategic teams consisting of specialists from every district to help resource churches to reach the various age demographics of the next generation.
“I believe that God is using us to create a sustainable structure that will help harvest the fruit of revival,” Marcus says. “There is a new level of excitement with NextGen. We have a fresh vision and direction. Together, we’re moving forward.”
The NOW Conference came together based on Ty’s sense of urgency from theLord that “now” was the time to organize the event. Ty says the avid response—the sell-out crowd of 400 came from across the nation—and spiritual openness of participants confirmed that young adults are ready for leaders to empower them and impart spiritual wisdom to them.
Among the moving experiences Ty witnessed during the conference was the response to one woman sharing about overcoming a secret drug addiction when she confessed it openly. That prompted another attendee to confess his addiction to his spouse and church leaders, and begin the process of getting free.
“I believe that God desires to see this generation living on purpose and mission for His kingdom, regardless of their age.” —Marcus Ellington, NextGen national team leader
Ty also met an unchurched young adult who had been invited to NOW by a stranger at a California church the day he visited a service. So addicted to cigarettes he couldn’t go two hours without smoking, the young man told Ty of breaking the habit that weekend.
“By the time he talked to me, he had gone 36 hours without a cigarette,” Ty says. “This guy happened to be at church one day and just happened to sit behind a stranger who offered to pay his way to the conference.”
Tami Jones, NextGen coordinator for the Central District, also saw the Holy Spirit moving powerfully at the event. The first day, she delivered a word of knowledge about a construction worker feeling compelled to write Scriptures and God’s name on framework and beams. The next day, in a breakout session, a man approached Tami with pictures of him doing just that.
Later, she sensed God urging her to tell another man: “You are a weightlifter? You need to take off the plates and pick up the kingdom.” Struggling to find a balance between campus ministry and weightlifting, he realized God wanted him to focus on ministry.
“One woman told me, ‘It is so refreshing to be together with other young adults who are seeking God and having a safe place to operate in their gifts—and Foursquare allowing them that opportunity,’” Tami recalls. “I didn’t realize the depth, the need, and the cry from our young adults. I’m sensing from God that He wants to provide a space for this within our movement.”
Although Ty organized the first major young adult, in-person event since lockdowns began two years ago, the next NOW Young Adults Conference will involve NextGen leaders from across the nation. The Atlantic District’s NextGen coordinator expects to see a similar spiritual outpouring at that event, as well as at his district’s upcoming winter and summer camps.
Churches paying the costs for young people to attend conferences and camps is a key way of investing in the next generation, he says. Ty notes that one modest-size congregation in Virginia paid for 30 people to attend NOW because they saw the value of their young adults being on fire for God.
“It’s a great way for students to have a dedicated time to hear from God in a positive peer pressure environment,” Ty explains. “It’s cool to hear from God, and it’s cool to worship together. It’s unique compared to any other opportunity they have.