In the spring and summer of 1999, I found myself working a part time job at my church that I loved and about to graduate from Bible college. I had not expected to graduate single, and I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. I loved Springfield and the life I had there, so I focused on staying and finding a full time job for the time being.
After a few interviews that didn’t excite me, an opportunity came my way to work in the National Youth Department of the Assemblies of God. A friend circumvented the typical hiring process to interview me, and I knew I wanted to work there. I hated to leave the youth pastor for whom I was working at the time, but I knew this was the right job at the right time. As my mom reminded me a few times, you need a job with insurance after college. 🙂
I found myself buried in a summer season that was all about Fine Arts Festival. Processing registrations involved hiring high school students for data entry. I worked for the Speed the Light Director, so I learned a lot about that amazing program and about working for someone who travels all the time. Everyone in the office was traveling to Fine Arts in August, but I was late to the game and was going to stay behind. A few weeks before the event, the Fine Arts Director asked me if I wanted to go. My travel-loving heart was thrilled!
It was such an intense week, and one I will never forget. Our hotel was next to the convention center, but the convention center was a mile long. This was before step counting was a thing, but we walked an unreal number of miles that week. It wasn’t good news when you forgot something in your hotel room.
I don’t remember what exactly I did that week, I just know that hosting thousands of students for an even of that magnitude was an enormous feat. At the end of the week is the celebration service. Each category had an Award of Merit recipient who would sing or preach or play their presentation in the service. It was an amazing culmination of the exhausting, amazing week.
I was able to attend and help execute 2 more Fine Arts Festivals while I worked in the youth department. In my last year there, I headed up planning for the National Youth Convention in Kansas City.
I reminisce about Fine Arts Festival because I am looking forward to evaluating performances for students in my state this weekend. It has been a long time since I was able to be a part of a Fine Arts Festival, and I am so excited to help encourage these youth in their gifts and callings. God used experiences just like this to encourage me when I was this age. I believe He will do amazing things in the lives of these young men and women tomorrow. Fine Arts has expanded to include many areas it did not include 23 years ago, and I am thankful that it gives more kids the chance to showcase the gifts God has given them.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
James 1:17 ESV