The Church of Pentecost’s PENSA conference is underway. This weekend, I will be attending the conference in Philadelphia for the Washington and most of East region. Around this time of year, students, youths and young adults alike are preparing for the spirit filled weekend. They are scrambling to finish with last minute preparations and are looking forward to an eventful weekend.
With the haywire of preparations, unfortunately, the spiritual aspect seems to be ignored. First off, I would like to commend the leaders and Pastors for doing their best to ensure that the focus of this event is on God and God only. I have been to a couple of pre-planning meetings and not once did I hear a leader or Pastor glorifying the need of students to show up in their best clothes, with that, I believe they subscribe to the train of thought of “Come as you are, but don’t come naked or ratchet”. This train of thought is something I support – so kudos to them.
On the contrary, it seems as though the students, youths and young adults sometimes lose focus of the task at hand. I have heard and seen lots of the young adults scrambling for “PENSA shopping” and ultimately worrying about what to wear and how to look. Now, hear me out, there is nothing wrong with looking nice and presentable for a conference, but once our focus is crowded with how we need to look, instead of how we need to fast, pray and worship, we miss the whole point of building a relationship with God. It’s great to look presentable and nice – we are humans at the end of the day and naturally, we have the tendencies of wanting to look nice at all important events, but we should not lose sight of the reason we meet and gather together from all regions in Worship.
A couple of things happen when we focus so much on “PENSA shopping” and extreme physical preparation instead of PENSA spiritual preparation:
1. We Do Not Come Spiritually Prepared
It is critical we get our minds tuned into the things of God as we prepare for these conferences. These conferences and conventions are not a social gathering for politics or speed dating, but rather a fellowship of believers meeting God for a spiritual encounter. This spiritual encounter needs spiritual preparation. A half day of fasting and about 20 minutes of prayer before you go will be beneficial to your overall spiritual development. But focusing on running to the mall and picking out some outfits only to look good, takes care of the physical needs while ignoring the spiritual. Yes, physically prepare! Go get your haircut, look through your wardrobe and grab something nice and presentable. Go to the mall and get something nice, but do not let that be your focus. If you don’t have money for a haircut or shopping at the mall, find something presentable, wash your hair or cut it yourself and show up for God.
2. We Do Not Give
Giving is important and not to be ignored. I do not oppose giving but I speak against how some of the leaders sometimes go about collecting or receiving these funds. I follow the Biblical principle of not being coerced or forced to give. Giving is more of a spiritual act than physical – especially giving to God. When we spend the little money we earn as young adults or youths to take care of our physical wants (not needs), we forget the needs of others and the needs of God. I often hear the Youth say “I don’t have enough money for offering” – yes you do, your priorities are just out of order – It’s not God first as you claim on your FB status or Instagram posts, but rather, it is YOU first. It’s not about your neighbor but about you. I have made similar mistakes in the past, but as I matured, I grew to understand Kingdom principles and I intertwined them with my faith. If you’re able to haggle your parents for new clothes for PENSA or dig deep into your accounts to look extra presentable, then I suggest you do the same when it comes to giving. I believe your parents will be proud that their young adult is focusing on giving to God. Giving to God is NOT compulsory – never let anyone force you to do so, but giving is a principle through out the whole Bible which need to be practiced. We should not give because we want to be blessed, we should give because WE ARE BLESSED.
3. It Becomes A Fashion Show Instead of God Showing Up
Once again, do not ignore the nuggets in my writing – it is not meant to attack or bash, but to bring to light a cycle we must break if we are going to focus on God at these conventions and these conferences and impact this generation and beyond. A fashion show is simply a show for people to showcase their outfits etc. Let me be real, GOD DOES NOT CARE ABOUT HOW GREAT YOU CAN DRESS AND HOW GOOD YOU LOOK, HE DOES NOT CARE – He already created you extremely and uniquely beautiful and no amount of accessories can disrespect that. As humans, we all like to look nice (it is great to look nice). But our focus on looking nice is also to please others and not God. Believe it or not, when people leave on Sunday to go home, they will go and face their own problems and issues and definitely forget about who looked great and who did not – but God will remember who came for Him and who opened their hearts out to Worship, Praised and Prayed. Do not let this weekend be a fashion show. Dress well and nice, but not to please man/woman but pleasing God. Man/woman will forget and not care but God will always be God – He will love. Please Him.
Our focus at these Conferences/Conventions should be realigned and focused on God. God is more than enough. This weekend, forget about who, what and why and focus on God, God and God. Come as you are! Come prepared to Worship, come prepared to Praise. Come prepared to sing, come prepared to dance. Come prepared to have an encounter with God instead of an encounter with man/woman. Yes, you will see your long lost friends, you will get the time to mingle, take pictures, talk, etc. But do not lose sight and focus of what matters most: God! Jesus Christ.
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