“So, how was Pilgrimage?” -a question many of those who attended Pilgrimage 2018 faced following this past weekend.
Few words can describe the experience of Pilgrimage 2018. The 2018 event cannot compare to any Pilgrimage of the past. It was unique and purposed for all those in attendance. God had a specific plan and message to every heart that came through the doors of Crown Coliseum. And his plan was powerful.
Brock Morgan and Ray Buckley were the chosen speakers of Pilgrimage 2018. Their message was so much more than inspiring. They revealed wisdom and biblical truths that will remain in hearts forever. Brock Morgan prepared souls for a life changing weekend, teaching that God has a divine purpose for all and that no one is unreachable. Ray Buckley enchanted all ears with his personal stories, proving that “with storytellers, when they speak, they are telling you something that belongs to their people; it is treasured.”
One can only imagine the courage it took to approach the podium on stage as a youth giving their testimony. In sharing incidences so intimate, each youth beamed with God’s spirit and love. Their stories reached all hearts with accounts of both pain and hope. It was a beautiful inspiration of young people seizing the opportunity to show how God has moved in their life, in hopes of maybe influencing another like them.
No speaker or pastor or singer could claim the influence of Pilgrimage as his or her own. This was God. Our God has used this weekend as a beautiful thing – to be an epitome of a church rooted in Him. But The Spirit is far from gone. It still lives on and continues to live on in the thoughts, hearts and souls of all in its influence.
Pilgrimage is a break in the normal – but is intended to be much more than that. It calls us to break away in order to see that we are not called to be normal, predictable. Our God wants us to be surrendered to His purpose, a better purpose. Not a single person walked out into the cold: hearts untouched, unaltered. To walk away unchanged is impossible. This event is absolutely life changing, a surreal experience. Pilgrimage is for all souls, sore and thriving.
If Pilgrimage 2018 could be put into words it would be as a glimpse of heaven, a glimpse everyone is trying to savor, retain, not let go of. An incredible first year for newcomers and last year as youth for seniors.
It has inspired us to reconnect, to plug in to scripture, prayer, and our personal relationship with our Lord. Reach out to friends, tell stories, connect back with our churches. Everything around was screaming, you have a place here. You are welcome. You are included. You have a place at our table, at the Lord’s table. Every aspect of the event was screaming “you are not alone, plug into what is here.” Even the lanyard around the neck’s of each attendee was a constant reminder to Plug In.
Those who attended Pilgrimage 2018 now have a unique experience that they share with 4,000 others. May God bless NCC Pilgrimage to continue to thrive in its abundance and influence. And friends, may you never forget to waffle when you pray.
*This blog was written by Anna Hackett, NCC Youth Secretary