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Carnival helps teens discover ‘Big Picture’ of God’s calling

By Rex Barber
Johnson City Press

Residents of Broadmore Assisted Living play Bingo at Friday's carnival at Milligan. The carnival was part of the “Big Picture” Teen Conference designed to help teens figure out what to do with their lives. (Rex Barber/Johnson City Press)

MILLIGAN COLLEGE — Answering God’s calling can be tough if you don’t really know what that calling may be.

But more than 60 high schoolers from across the nation got a little closer to finding out what God may be leading them to do with their lives at the “Big Picture” Teen Conference this past week at Milligan College.

“These are students from a variety of churches and their purpose for coming here is to explore what God’s calling is for their life,” said Phyllis Fox, Milligan’s director of church relations.

There were 61 teens from 13 states and one foreign country who attended the weeklong conference, which featured ministry skills workshops in leadership, preaching/storytelling, youth ministry, children’s ministry, counseling, creative arts, interpersonal communication, missions and worship.

According to a news release, the conference also included life discovery assessments, an introduction to the spiritual disciplines, accountability groups and worship services.

On Friday, conference participants hosted a carnival with crafts, bingo, miniature golf, music and refreshments for the senior residents of Broadmore Assisted Living in Johnson City.

“I figured it would be worth my time, worth my while because I haven’t felt any leading as to what I’m going to do with my life … ,” said Leslie Cazier, who lives in Kenya with her missionary parents., said about the conference. Cazier is originally from a small town in Illinois and moved to Kenya when she was 12.

She said she wanted to go to Milligan when she goes to college, but had been stressing about the expense. This conference alleviated some of those concerns, she said.

“More or less I just feel content now,” Cazier said. “I’ve had my eye on Milligan since I was in the eighth grade … but I thought it was too expensive. But now I just feel a peace about that.”

During Friday’s carnival at Broadmore, Cazier got a new experience.

“I am helping run the bingo room,” Cazier said. “I’ve never really run a fair, but I’m excited because I like bingo.”

Nathan Hall was providing music for the carnival by playing guitar. He is a student at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport.

“Right now I feel that God’s really calling me to worship ministry,” Hall said. “I like playing music. It’s my passion … I like playing for people.”

He thought the conference helped him sort through some things and allowed him to have a good time in the process.

“It’s absolutely been fantastic,” he said. “We do a lot of workshops. We do two workshops in the afternoon. We’re doing stuff like being a servant. How to be a servant to others but be a leader while serving for God’s call.”

The carnival was a chance to have some fellowship with a group Hall and the other teens normally would not see.

“We’re just a bunch of teenagers,” he said. “We can’t put on an awesome carnival, but it’s just about getting to know the residents. Hanging out with them, hearing their stories and getting to know them and stuff.”

Johnson City Press Article

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MILLIGAN COLLEGE is a Christian liberal arts college in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The college offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan College, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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