While many kids are headed back to school soon, or are already back, thousands of students from across the world gathered in St. Louis, Mo. to give back as part of one of the largest Christian youth events in the nation.
Over 36,000 attended the North American Youth Congress from July 31 to Aug. 2, at The Dome at America's Center.
The three-day conference, hosted by the Youth Ministries division of the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI), was filled with worship, preaching, networking, and community service.
This year's theme was "Kingdom Come" and last Friday students had a chance to walk it out on "Serve Day" by volunteering.
“Jesus told us to pray that His kingdom would come and His will would be done on earth,” UPCI Youth Ministries President Josh Carson explained, referencing the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in Matthew 6. “That means we are called to serve the needs of others, particularly when they are suffering through a crisis.”
Students filled two semi-trailers with 1,500 buckets with relief supplies for communities struck by natural disasters, including the floods that recently hit the Midwest.
Those who attended the gathering also donated more than $1 million to Sheaves For Christ, the fundraising arm of UPCI, which supports missionary efforts around the world, including purchasing vehicles for missionaries and helping fund organizations such as adoption agencies, a children's home, and an outreach for at-risk boys.
UPCI, headquartered in Weldon Spring, Mo., outside of St. Louis, has 4.9 million constituents at 42,000 churches across 228 nations and territories.