Layton, UT – In an era when everything targeting teens focuses on making themselves look good, it is nice to see the next generation giving glory to God and seeking after the interests of others. The theme for Sonfest 2023 was “Selfless in a Selfie World” and was based on Philippians 2:3 where Paul encourages believers to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves”
Mountain View Baptist Church was host for this event, August 3-5, 2023. The hope was that by returning to a local church, we could lower costs and have the ability to host smaller breakout opportunities over the weekend that we were not able to do in previous venues. Guest speaker Algernon Tennyson shared a series of messages from Philippians 2 and 3 over the three main sessions while Sons of Asaph worship team facilitated relevant worship experiences that gave students an opportunity to sing praises together with peers form seven different churches across the two state convention. While the numbers were down, that did not dissuade the students present to connect with one another and respond to the challenges by Big Al.
Sonfest has been a staple event for Utah and Idaho Youth for over two decades, but this year, the format took major steps to allow more time for interaction between youth groups and opportunities for deeper discussion and learning to take place in smaller groups. This year, the event started on Thursday rather than the traditional Friday start. This middle of the week start may have played a part in lower attendance numbers and will be reevaluated for future events returning to the Friday to Sunday format in 2024 while retaining elements of the new format.
On Friday students started the day with devotion led by Jason McNair, Strengthening Churches Missionary for UISBC. Then students had a choice of two sessions of breakouts covering a number of relevant topics. Algernon taught older students about his ministry to end human trafficking, Elinor Blankenship taught an evangelism training class, Adam Richardson and Jonathan Blair led a student worship workshop, John Catron spoke about living missionally and referenced his recent GenSend missions experience in Miami, and Jason McNair led a Sound Technology breakout for youth interested in learning new skills.
Lunch was provided to students after the morning of breakout sessions, followed by group games and recreation in the field around the host church, followed by church group time. Friday concluded with dinner, then the second main session of worship and preaching. The event concluded with a final Saturday morning worship session followed by many of the youth going to Lagoon Amusement park in Farmington, UT.
Sonfest 2024 will plan to be more of a hybrid of the new format, but will have those breakouts on Saturday morning before session two which will motivate students going to Lagoon to use the lessons learned the previous two sessions to seek out gospel conversations in the park. The hope is that by moving it back to a Friday to Sunday will allow more churches to participate by removing the burden of adult sponsors from having to take an extra day off of work like they did this year.
Mark your calendar to join us for Sonfest next year back at Mountain View Baptist Church, August 2-4, 2024