By Sharon Mager
NEWARK, Delaware—Transformation Church, a four-year-old church plant with about 60 members, will host a youth conference from May 24-26 at 505 School House Road, Hockessin, Delaware. Pastor
Chandra Rudrapathi explains that “Awake” is more than a youth conference, it’s actually for teens and their parents. The theme is “Bridging the Gap: Keeping Families Together,” based on Psalms 145:4, “One generation commends your works to another.”
There will be joint worship services for teens and parents, with specialized breakout sessions for each group.
“As part of my doctoral thesis, I realized that ethnic families in the United States are segregated,” Rudrapathi explained. “The young kids, when they grow up, don’t want to go to the ethnic churches. They want to go to American churches. So, children and their parents have different pastors.”
Reflecting on the quandary, Rudrapathi said, “there are no “ethnic” churches in the Bible.
“American churches can draw people from all nationalities in their churches. Why are ethnic churches not able to do that? They should be able to get people from other cultures.”
About 200 people — Indian, Anglo, African Americans, and families with mixed ethnicities from at least 11 states, including Texas–are expected at the conference.
Though hotel rooms may be limited or unavailable, anyone who would like to attend is welcome. Rudrapathi said he wants people to participate if the Holy Spirit draws them.
There will be worship, plenary sessions, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and games.
Rudrapathi said he prayerfully chose the special guests and he’s excited about them.
The keynote speakers are Paul Sudhakar, a well known Bible teacher from India; author Sam George, with Pariwaar International, an organization that supports immigrant
families; and Michael Yemba, a church planter who survived persecution in Saudi Arabia.
George authored the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation.” Rudrapathi explained the title — “Indians are brown in their skin color, but the children of the second generation don’t think the way the first generation thinks. They’re brown on the outside and white on the inside.” George will share practical ways of bridging the gap of kids trying to understand parents and parents understanding their children.
Breakout session topics include addictions, evolution vs. the Bible, peer pressure, taking a Biblical stand in the midst of cultural diversity, social media, and Christianity in the marketplace. Individual sessions will also be available for parents.
The church is offering the event completely free — no registration fees, no hotels costs, and no charge for the food. They’re accepting donations and expecting God to provide.
This conference is not the first time the church has stepped out on faith to host a significant event.
Four years ago, Transformation Church was a new church plant with 30 to 35 members struggling to pay their bills from month to month, but, following the lead of Rudrapathi, they took a leap of faith and hosted a $12,000 youth conference in 2015.
Their “National Christian Youth Convocation” took place on an October weekend with imminent threatening weather. A “Nor ‘easter” pounded the shores, but almost 100 youth from 14 states braved the weather. Rudrapathi was thrilled, and he praises God for a miraculous weekend. Procuring the funds and resources necessary was an absolute Godsend, he said.
God moved people to attend the convocation. One man heard about it and brought 17 people with a whole music team to help with music, from a church in Indiana.
When the big weekend arrived, Rudrapathi and others in the church were hoping for about 25 or 30 people, especially with the bad weather and potential hurricane. They were shocked when 95 people showed up on Friday. By the weekend’s end over 100 people participated.
“It was powerful!” Rudrapathi said. The event included sermons, testimonies, music, volleyball, question and answer times, and breakout sessions.
Rudrapathi said while he was thrilled at the number of people who showed up, even if just a few came, he still feels he was obedient to what God told him to do.
It seemed impossible, but Pastor Chandra Rudrapathi said he was following God’s call for obedience.
When he shared the vision God had laid on his heart, many people, he admits, were not “on board.” “Looking back, I’m sure some said, ‘he’s crazy,” Rudrapathi said with a chuckle.
However, the pastor said he follows the famous Missionary William Carry’s philosophy, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”
So Rudrapathi moved forward. The vision was to offer the conference with free registration, free food, and free accommodations in hotels with the church taking care of all expenses.
He began to share the idea but carefully. He didn’t ask people for money. He felt God would lay it on the hearts of those He wanted to give.
The church didn’t even advertise the names of those who would be sharing at the convocation. Rudrapathi said they invited a well known Indian movie actor that many people would respond to, but he didn’t want people coming to the conference to see the actor. He wanted them to be led by the Holy Spirit.
As he prayed and shared, doors began to open. Rudrapathi said he found local pastors in Maryland and Delaware who agreed to speak at the conference, saving money from having out-of-town guest speakers. Church members sponsored almost all of the meals. They rented a church building, Life Community Church, in Wilmington, and a donor stepped forward to cover the cost of the rent. As Rudrapathi shared the vision in various places across the country, without asking for support, people felt led to give.
While he hoped to make the conference an annual event, the church went through some transition and had to move from a school to a warehouse, and that took much energy, Rudrapathi says.
“Its time to do something again,” he said.
The conference will be live-streamed on Chandra Rudrapathi’s Facebook page and his youtube channel.
For more information, contact Rudrapathi.