Thousands of Seventh-day Adventists impacted their communities in more than 100 countries on Saturday, March 18 during the annual Global Youth Day event.
The effort, which was organized by the Youth Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, served as the kick-off for the church’s Youth Week of Prayer titled “Revolution - The Reformation that Changed the World.”
Adventist youth went the extra mile doing community service work throughout the month of March which culminated in the March 18 Global Youth Day Sabbath.
As pictures and videos were shared on social media with the hashtag #GYD17, the campaign generated an impact of more than 137 million impressions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The social media strategy, which was implemented by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, broke an Adventist Church record for social media engagement.
Sam Neves, associate director of communication for the Seventh-day Adventist World Church said, "We are a global church: 20 million members, 924 languages, 150,000 local congregations in 208 countries and territories. Global Youth Day is the greatest opportunity we have to experience unity as we come together under the singular mission to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our communities.”
Sam Gungaloo, a pastor in South England and Kehrys Sterling from Vancouver Canada, hosted the 24 hour broadcast from the Global Youth Day set—an airplane appropriately called “AirGYD”.
Starting off at Stimme der Hoffnug, which runs the Hope Channel in Germany, AirGYD virtually "flew" around the world reporting on #GYD17 outreach during the live, online video feed. The 24 hour show was broadcast through the Hope Channel and YouTube Live.
AirGYD captain and associate youth director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pako Mokgwane, was featured throughout the day in inspiring and entertaining updates from the AirGYD cockpit and cabin.
This year’s service theme was to give blood. People were reminded that for every one pint of blood, three lives can be saved. Young Adventists responded generously to the global blood drive.
Young people around the world also found other ways to “Be the Sermon” in their communities.
Youth in Australia mowed lawns for neighbors. Taiwanese youth cheered up new friends in nursing homes. In Spain, Madrid-based youth ran a "Love Expo" where passersby could learn more about how to express love to others through their own "love language."
Presenters in Peru highlighted flash flood relief efforts and a special prayer by AirGYD cabin crew was offered up in support of those who had lost so much in the natural disaster.
A broadcast from inside a Kenyan prison for #GYD17 generated a lot of discussion on how to help prisoners. A panel of young people based in Silver Spring, Maryland reflected on how many Biblical heroes were imprisoned for their faith.
Sabbath Sofas were also a global #GYD17 hit. In several different locations around Great Britain, Adventist young people put sofas in places that got heavy foot traffic. The Sabbath Sofa teams promote Sabbath rest by inviting grateful passersby to sit down and have a break and a chat.
As the 24-hour marathon of a day wrapped up, AirGYD co-pilot and Seventh-day Adventist World Church general vice president, Abner De Los Santos, reminded the live global viewership that #GYD17 was about so much more than just a day. He encouraged Adventist youth to make this kind of service a lifestyle.
A motivated team led by the Youth Ministries department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church helped ensure that #GYD17 was a success.
The large team also included the mastermind behind the transmission strategy and engineering, Daryl Gungadoo, global distribution manager for Adventist World Radio.
Reflecting on the day, Mokgwane said, “The youth can be trusted. All they need is a chance. GYD offers a platform for them to express their giftedness. This year, they took creativity to the next level. GYD should not be an event. It must be a lifestyle. It gets more people asking, 'Who are you?' This question opens an chance for a good conversation about the love of Jesus."
Seventh-day Adventist World Church president Ted N.C. Wilson participated in Global Youth Day in North America.
"It's just a powerful thing at the very end of time here before Jesus comes to be able to share the Three Angels' messages in practical ways as well as in preaching. People will respect you a lot if they see that what you are saying is what you are also doing,” said Wilson.
Wilson called the outreach "Total Youth Involvement, everybody doing something for Jesus."