More than 90 teens from Western New York traveled to Louisville, Ky., at the end of December for the Follow ’12 Wesleyan Youth Convention. Follow ’12 is part of an international series of convention themes with the long-term goal of gaining devoted followers of Jesus Christ. It is the fifth convention of the series, which began in 2005.

Of course, a youth convention would not be complete without concerts. This one was no exception. Seven groups performed, and, according to Ben Selden of Orchard Park High School, the concerts were the highlight of the experience. Some of the artists, including Fireflight, were Grammy-nominated. Even those that were not delivered inspiring performances that the attendees will not soon forget.

The students from Wesleyan churches nationwide spent time at breakout sessions learning more about their faith. These sessions featured guest speakers from around the world. Many of them have experienced a transformation in their life that brought them closer to their faith, which may not have been part of their lives when they were young. Although their stories were different, they had a common goal: to share the love of Christianity. They were inspired to speak to others because they had experienced firsthand how embracing their faith had changed them.

The offering on Sunday morning, which met the goal of $10 per person, raised $25,000. All of the money raised was donated to groups – CYC, Poetice and World Hope International – that aim to further develop youth ministry worldwide.

It is clear that thousands of lives were changed that weekend. Some of those in attendance decided to follow Jesus, while others simply grew closer to Him. Everyone in attendance seemed to agree that it was a worthwhile way to spend winter break.

As Derik Idol, one of the speakers, said, “the fear of standing out is replaced by the fear of missing out.”

For more information, go to, Facebook or Twitter.

Kelsey Auman is a junior at Orchard Park High School.