Langdon, North Dakota has 350 that attend the public school in town, and there are 35 students in Dustin Gilseth's junior class. As a child, he was not very active in church or attending worship.
"I stepped away from the church and really didn't go. I just was not active. I started to go and listen to the pastor. I then got involved in youth activities, went to camp, and DakYouth," says Gilseth, a member of the Dakotas Conference Council of Youth Ministry (CCYM) and Langdon UMC.
Currently, he is active in the leadership of his church and is committed to inviting others to know Jesus "I see God in a whole new way. My faithfulness is strong," he says. "I am part of the Ezekieal 27 team at Langdon UMC—the church leadership team. I help with confirmation and help with suppers for the community. I speak in church, and I work on the bulletin."
He does not hesitate to invite friends to worship and other church events. "I invite others to come with me to church, to the various events. I tell my friends, especially if they are new to town, come to youth events. They are fun. You get to mess around, eat food, and of course meet new people," says Gilseth.
Gilseth recognizes that kids are not going to church as teenagers. They are just not interested in going to a traditional worship service. He points out that events like DakYouth invite teenagers to experience God from a whole new way.
Gilseth attended DakYouth for the first time in 2018 and has not looked back. This year he is part of the CCYM team that is planning and hosting the event at Aberdeen Cultural and Recreation Center.
"I am so excited for DakYouth 2019," says Dustin Gilseth. "You will experience a whole new God thing, meet new friends, and worship is unbelievable!"
DakYouth is an annual event for both middle school and high school youth in the Dakotas Conference. Youth gather from all around the conference to learn about leadership, discipleship, and service.
The 2019 theme is Recharge! The event will be November 8-10 in Aberdeen, South Dakota featuring music from recording artist Ryan Stevenson. Guest speakers are Mark Oestreicher and Steph Caro. Worship will include Rev. Sarah Heath and the Thrive band. Special guest Bishop Bruce Ough will lead closing worship.
The registration fee for the DakYouth 2019 is $65, which includes a free t-shirt, if you register by October 25. The registration fee after October 25 is $75.
Gilseth credits DakYouth, CCYM, and his pastor, Justin Schnackenberg, for boosting his faith, leadership skills, and confidence.
"CCYM has helped me so much to step up in faith and with my leadership skills," he says. "CCYM is so fun! When the application time for CCYM came around, I thought, —I am too busy to apply, I am not going to get selected. My pastor said, too bad, you're going to apply, and I have not looked back. I have grown so much this past year since DakYouth 2018. "
Get the details for DakYouth 2019 here
Learn more about CCYM here