The spirit of bringing the Kingdom of God was renewed during the Jubilee 2004 Conference at the Hilton Pittsburgh, where the question posed in the event’s subtitle: “Where are you going with your life?” was answered to the relief of many college students who attended. They were able to realize the possibilities of serving God, not as prescribed by traditional ministries, but by using their future careers to shape social change.
The conference lasted for three days, Feb. 27-29, during which over 2,000 students were re-kindled at heart.
“You use the job God is giving you to actively serve Him,” said Chris Divitro, a freshman at Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn. Divitro said the conference changed his viewpoint on the different career paths available to Christians.
“I always thought it was either going to be a missionary or a pastor,” said the first-time comer to Jubilee. “I was having questions about how I can be Christian and affectively serve God in the science,” said Divitro, who wanted to major in Neuroscience. Now, after attending the conference and listening to keynote speaker Lakita Garth and Dr. Jason Summers during a seminar relating science and faith, he feels his future is much clearer. “I feel comfortable having God call me to do Neuroscience.”
The event was sponsored by Coalition for Christian Outreach, a college and university ministry to students in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As stated on the organization’s Web site, “The seminars and addresses at Jubilee point to the Kingdom mindset that Christian people ought to have at any time in the history of the church.”
What Divitro experienced during the conference was like nothing he ever experienced before in other events for a Christian audience. “At other events, I felt like I was on a spiritual high. But here, I felt like I was on a spiritual high but I knew where I was going. It was kind of up and forward. I knew where to go from here. I realized the importance of Christians in corporate America and having Christians in social power and influence and use it to change the world from the inside out.”
Rachel Coleman, who is a sophomore at Allegheny College, said Lakita Garth, a social commentator, media consultant and professional entertainer, was the highlight of the conference. Garth approached the conference with a 3-part lecture, entitled “Destiny, Discipleship, Dominion.”
“The main speaker was great,” said Coleman. “ She related modern times to the Scriptures and made it real to us and didn’t make it outdated.”
According to Coleman, Garth made the Biblical teachings relevant to the societal issues in today’s dialogue and also applied the teachings to what students could do to be instruments of change in their respective career paths.
“She gave examples of people who were Christian, who have attained a higher status in their jobs to change things. In addition to discussing “the abortion issue…and the poverty issue,” during her lectures, Garth also told a success story of a person who by providing jobs to people in Vietnam, eventually helped spread the Gospel as more churches developed in correlation to the increase in employment.
On Saturday, after Garth motivated the college students with lecture on “Discipleship: Discovering our purpose in Christ”, participants divided into groups to attend the seminars they selected upon registration to the conference. The seminar sessions were divided into two themes: “Making a Difference” and “The Christian in the University.” They dealt with topics such as: art, business, law, medicine, pastoral ministry, science, family and sports, to name a few.
Coleman signed-up for the Medicine Seminar with the subtitle: “I Don’t Get No Satisfaction: When Mental Illness Comes to Church.” A student who is planning to study Pre-med, Coleman agreed with the message the seminar was sending.
“It was talking about how the church is responsible for mental patients,” said Coleman.
Participants could have also chosen the alternative to the seminars, which were “Jubilee Africana” and “Jubilee Latino”. They centered on promoting “racial reconciliation”, according to Divitro. Although he didn’t attend the sub-events, he was still able to see their fruit on the last day of the conference when a multi-ethnic choir performed for the assembly.
“On the last morning, the Gospel choir was promoting racial unity as one body of Christians-- that’s not black or white--but Christians,” said Divitro.
Both Divitro and Coleman attended Jubilee 2004 as part of the Allegheny chapter of the Coalition Outreach (ACO), along with some 40 other college students led by Campus Minister Sandie Starr. Although it was their first time in attending the event, both intend on attending next year’s Jubilee conference for good reason.
Divitro discovered he could make a difference. “I could be a loud voice and I could be a light in the darkness. I could someone in the forefront of trying to change things.”
When asked how the conference has affected students’ attitude in general, Coleman replied, “It definitely has made an impact. Students are more rejuvenated for the rest of the semester and keep our focus on Christ.”
This Saturday, Divitro will turn his focus to a group viewing of “The Passion of the Christ” at Meadville Cinema, sponsored by the ACO, Campus Crusade for Christ and Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Allegheny College.