The Southern California Conference (SCC) Literature Ministries and Youth Ministries Departments collaborated for a week of renewal and revival at Simi Valley church this January.
The week of renewal and revival has been a reoccurring event hosted by Simi Valley church for many years, bringing in speakers from throughout the North American Division. As the church has adopted the growing young initiative, this year Pastors Phil and Jan White wanted to be intentional about reaching a younger demographic and decided to make it a youth-focused event.
With this focus, Phil and Jan invited Sal Garcia, SCC youth ministries director, and Lizelle Oreño, SCC literature ministries assistant coordinator, to lead. Together, after much prayer, Garcia and Oreño selected the theme “I Will Go,” which puts spiritual renewal and revival into action.
Phil emphasized that this week was not only for the younger generation but for everyone. “It’s something we all need to do,” he said. “We need to come around the youth of our church and embrace them, but we all need to go. God is calling all of us to go.”
Leading up to the week of renewal and revival, the church participated in 10 days of prayer. The week was filled with youth-led music, Bible games, interactive activities, encouraging messages from Garcia and Oreño, and opportunities for Simi Valley church to connect and engage with its youth.
“Heart-work is hard work,” Oreño said. “You can never tell what’s going on in their hearts and minds. All you can do is work on changing their perception about God to have a lasting effect on their life for the better.”
Friday night included a special communion service in which foot washing was replaced with hand sanitizing. Attendees prayed with one another before partaking in the drinking of juice and eating of bread, which was in the shape of a heart to remind participants of God’s love for them.
This collaboration is a first for Garcia and Oreño, who are both new to their positions. Oreño, a former Bible worker at Ojai church and a youth rush leader and participant for many years, began working at SCC as the literature ministries assistant coordinator at the end of last summer. Garcia was appointed youth ministries director last November after having previously served as a pastor of 12 different churches within SCC for many years. Garcia and Oreño look forward to future collaboration between both departments and local churches to reach young people for Christ.
“Growing churches should invest their resources, time, and efforts in their youth and young adults,” Garcia said. “When such a spirit of teamwork exists between adults and the youth of the church, the Holy Spirit can bless the church tremendously.”