If you met Madeline Konshak right before the 2018 (Lake Union) Youth Congress, it would not have been in church.
The 23-year-old was struggling to reconcile her mother’s death and what she describes as poor treatment from the church. “I felt hurt that she was alone most of the last few years, with no one coming to see her,” explains Madeline. “It was hard for me to justify why I should go to church. I still believed in God but had a hard time with the church.”
Fast forward to 2020, Madeline was at the Youth Congress feeling more optimistic. She was receiving mentoring from the new church pastor, Kevin Moreno, and he encouraged her not to let the setback dampen her relationship with God. When she returned home to the Green Bay Church, Madeline, along with two other young adults, Joel Campbell and Josue Hilario, decided to launch a YouTube channel, Adventist Youth Real Connections. [https://bit.ly/3acZolh]
In the introductory video, uploaded March 2020, Joel says with urgency that they were keen on using the platform to connect with their peers. “We have to do all we can, now more than ever, to reach people and, most importantly, to develop a relationship with Jesus.” For Josue, he expresses on video how it was important that the content reflect a certain authenticity. “We want to show with this channel that even with struggles we can have a life centered in Christ.”
Editing the testimonials and devotionals has been Madeline’s responsibility. She says when she listens to the videos, she can’t help but feel hopeful. “Hearing everyone’s devotionals, about what went on their lives and how they’ve used their faith in a real way has encouraged my relationship with God.”
The lockdown slowed the number of videos produced so far to just under a dozen. “You don’t realize how much you need human interaction to get things done,” Madeline says, adding that they’re hoping to pick up the pace now that they’re meeting in person again. “We can’t give it up.” They plan to invest in new equipment and eventually carve out some space in the church’s facilities for a studio.
Debbie Michel, Lake Union Herald editor
Excerpt from Lake Union Herald November/December 2021, The Audacious Youth Evangelism Experiment