Changed For Good | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
March 2018

Changed For Good

By Carl Gladstone (NCJ & NEJ)

In Lebanon, KY, a few weekends ago a group of high school students, supported by parents and other adults, guided 58 middle school students through a series of worship services, prayer sessions, talks and fellowship. This Discovery Weekend ( was a moment for young people all around Marion County to come experience God’s amazing transformations in their lives and to listen for the good God was calling them to commit because of that change.

College student Laura had a vision to lead this event after experiencing the life redirecting grace of God through the Chrysalis and Emmaus communities. By hearing talks from Christians that had gone before her in the journey, she caught a glimpse of what a community of people changed by Jesus could look like. And she wanted to offer that kind of vision and community to the youth around her.

So, using the new Discovery resource from The Upper Room, Laura and her mom plus about 100 other young adult and community volunteers organized Discovery Lebanon, a spiritual retreat where younger youth could “Discover God’s Love Through the Church” - the theme of the weekend.

It was a moment where middle school students could claim their identity as young people transformed by God. “We wanted to help youth find the label God wanted them to have for themselves. I personally got involved because I had been feeling for about a year and a half that God wanted a discipleship program in the Marion County area, and when I heard about the program I fell in love with it,” said Laura. ( And, through table conversations with high school and adult group leaders, the middle school attendees explored God’s love and the ways they could live into that love through their churches.

Many participants remarked that the prayer service at the end of the weekend was particularly inspiring. For over two hours in the worship space each youth came forward and was prayed for by team leaders and others. Groups came forward to lay hands on each young person, thanking God for them and praying that they be launched into a life of discipleship, bringing God’s goodness to fruition in the world after the weekend ended.

Whether it’s a summer camp, fall youth rally, YOUTH 2019 ( or other gathering, these special events can serve as concentrated moments for young people to experience God’s goodness and to be changed for good by them. We encourage every youth leader, pastor, and parent to seek out these experiences for their youth and support the organizations that provide them with their prayers, presence and gifts.

Thanks Laura, and the whole Lebanon Discovery team for helping those middle schoolers be changed for good.