ARLINGTON, MA (July 24, 2015) — The youth group at Highrock Covenant Church wasn’t so sure about CHIC. While many Covenant congregations have a long history with the triennial youth conference, with supportive parents who fondly recall attending CHIC 30 years ago and are eager to share the experience with a new generation, that wasn’t the case here. The relatively young church, which was organized in 2001, had sent a group to CHIC 2012, and that was it. Not exactly a legacy.
So when youth pastor Chris Gredenius began talking about CHIC 2015, he heard a lot of questions. What does that name mean? Is it chic—like the fashion statement? Why would we go to this? The cost to take 19 students 900 miles from Arlington, Massachusetts, to Knoxville, Tennessee, was not insignificant. Plus, attending the conference meant the youth group would forego its annual mission trip.
But they were committed to the idea of joining together with the wider body of Christ. And last week in Tennessee, they got to do just that.
When asked what were highlights of the week, the Highrock students enthusiastically responded, “MainStage!” They also appreciated the free time activities such as swimming and the Hub. But Tori Adeyemi expressed a common theme in the group saying, “What’s more interesting to me was the speakers. They made such really good points and gave you something you can use in your daily life.”
The theme of the conference was Shift, which was reinforced in various venues throughout the week. Gredenius said, “What’s exciting is to hear that these kids can do these shifts at CHIC and it affects them back home. I’m excited to see how they’re activated to go home and see how to live out their faith now.”
High school junior Sharon Lincoln added, “My high school is secular. It’s really empowering for me to see all these high-schoolers coming together. They’ve already made their shift or they’re in the process.”
“We also got to know kids in our own youth group better during our downtime this week,” Gredenius said. “Our youth group has lots of high schools represented, so we had a chance to get to know quieter students or those who live further away.”
Sometimes it takes traveling 900 miles and spending a week with nearly 6,000 other people to enable that to happen.