Wharton Youth Rally

The theme for the 2022 annual youth rally held at the Apostolic Faith Church in Wharton, New Jersey, from April 29 to May 1 was “Reigniting Our Strength and Faith in God.” The theme verse was 1 Chronicles 29:11 and the theme song was “Let Your Living Waters Flow Over My Soul.” The Friday evening service began with a piano prelude followed by a violin and cello duet playing “Humoresque.” The choir then sang “Take Me Back.” Daniel Adewoyin, the youth leader in Wharton, welcomed everyone, and following the congregational singing, a mixed quartet sang “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” A young minister who is  currently stationed in Denmark said that although there is no Apostolic Faith Church close by and he is surrounded by ungodly lifestyles, being saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit has kept him grounded in the Gospel. Before the sermon, Tanya Makasi sang “Softly and Tenderly.” Erik Calhoun, the youth leader in Portland, Oregon, read 1 Chronicles 29:10-11 for his text, and encouraged the congregation to seek for the Spirit of God to direct their lives just as David did.

On Saturday morning, Brother Erik gave a session on “Effective Ways of Presenting the Gospel While Reflecting the Nature of God.” The session began with an organ prelude, followed by the congregation singing the theme song. Brother Erik read 2 Timothy 1:6-9 for his text, and encouraged the youth to rekindle their spiritual fires so that others will see Jesus in them through love, truth, righteousness, justice, holiness, mercy, and goodness.

That afternoon there was a breakout session for teens and young adults. Brother Erik led the teens in a session on “Managing Social Media in a Holiness Church: Games and Other Forms of Entertainment.” Olusola Adesope, the pastor in Pullman, Washington, led the young adults in a session on “The Importance of Setting Right Priorities and Putting God First.” He illustrated with his personal testimony about how God has blessed him and his family because of his determination to put God first in his life. He challenged the young adults to focus on what they can give to the Lord rather than what they can get away with. The session concluded with a powerful prayer meeting.

A music concert titled “Sing Ye Praises” was held on Saturday evening. Several branch churches participated, including Oceanside, New York; East Bridgewater, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; Houston, Texas; and Pullman, Washington. The choir sang “God Be Praised,” followed by the orchestra playing “Festival of Praise.” Other instrumental selections included violin and trumpet solos and piano renditions. A vocalist sang “Blessings,” and during the intermission, young musicians from the Wharton church played selections on their various instruments. Other choir numbers included “The Power of Your Love,” “O Happy Day,” and “My God Is Real.” Before the sermon, the choir sang “Ebenezer” in five different languages. Brother Olusola took his text from John 20:19-22, and using the example of when his family paid a surprise visit to his elderly parents, he brought out how exciting it is when Jesus shows up unexpectedly in our lives.

 The Sunday morning devotional service began with an organ prelude, “O How He Loves You and Me” and “O How I Love Jesus.” Then the orchestra played “Light Medleys,” followed by the choir singing “God Be Praised.” Before the Scripture reading taken from Colossians 1:13-14, the choir sang “The Power of Your Love.” The “Igniting Men” sextet sang “The Power of God is Just the Same Today” and “I Feel Good”  before the sermon. Brother Erik read Colossians 1:15-17 for his text, and encouraged the young people not to allow current issues or social media to negatively impact or cause them to compromise their relationships with God.

The youth rally ended with a farewell service on Sunday evening, which began with an organ prelude and saxophone solo, “Way Maker.” The choir then sang “My God Is Real,” and before the testimony portion of the service, the choir sang “Raise Up an Army.” Prior to the sermon, Joel Oni sang “Make My Life Beautiful.” Brother Erik took his text from 2 Timothy 1:6-9, and spoke about how Paul and Timothy’s relationship was an encouragement to both of them. He challenged the young people to stay focused on reigniting their relationship with God and to look to fellow believers for encouragement.

Only Heaven has a record of all the blessings received during the youth rally. The prayer is that the fire reignited in the Wharton church will continue to burn until Jesus comes.

occasion / dates