“When you’re young and you love Jesus, the world cannot handle you,” New York youth minister Daniel Sanabria, said to a crowd of over 3,000 youth at Congresso on April 22-24 at the Ferrell Center at Baylor University.
“God wants to take us to a different level,” Sanabria, also founder of God Belongs in My City, said, ”not a different level of ministry, but a different level of living for Him.”
Sanabria’s call for youth to live differently in the world coincided with Congreso’s evident theme of being a “changemaker.”
“A changemaker is one who leverages his or her influence of Christ for the betterment of the world,” Joshua del Risco, director of Evangelism for Texas Baptists, told the youth. “A changemaker is one who not only desires to change or knows what to change, but takes action to make that change.”
Youth traveled from across the state and even country to attend Congreso 2016, including from as far east as Washington, D.C. and as far west as California. Students engaged in worship sessions with music led by the Josh Chavez Band and sessions taught by Mike Satterfield, teaching pastor at Fielder Church in Arlington, Sanabria and del Risco.
In addition, Christian rap artist Propaganda, hip hop artist KB, singer Danny Gokey and band The Digital Age all performed on the stage throughout the weekend.
The messages compelled 91 youth to make decisions to follow Christ and 143 others to rededicate their lives, accept a call to ministry or make other faith decisions.
Sandra Lozada, college student from Azle Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, has been attending Congreso since she was 12-years-old and said her experience is just as impactful as it has always been.
“You can relate not matter what age you are,” Lozada said. “It’s amazing how God is working through Congreso.”
For Lozada, being a changemaker means being a good example for the youth who are looking up to her.
“Being a changemaker is a big challenge,” she said. “My youth are looking up to me now, they’re coming to me with questions. If we want to make a change, we need to better ourselves. It takes risk, but I think we should not forget that we’re not here because of us, but because of God. It should be our goal to be better and be more like God.”
On Saturday afternoon, 560 youth teamed up with Mission Waco to practice being changemakers in the city of Waco. Some visited nursing home residents and ministered to the homeless while others served in a community garden and painted fences, along with a variety of other mission projects and evangelistic opportunities.
Congreso leaders encouraged students to maintain the changemaker mindset all year long and challenged them to help mobilize 10,000 students in the coming years for Congreso. Next year’s will take place April 28-30 at Baylor University’s Ferrell Center.