CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa.—Clarks Summit University just wrapped up the 49th Annual Teen Leadership Conference. TLC is a week-long experience for high school students who want to be leaders in their churches, schools, and communities.

The theme of the conference this year was “Willing—people of influence are willing to do whatever Christ asks them to do.”

TLC secretary Kristen Miller says, “It’s so encouraging to see young people who are passionate about Jesus and want to be the change the world needs. God does phenomenal things each year at TLC.”

The conference hosted several dynamic speakers, including Andy Giessman, pastor of New Life Baptist Church, Scranton, Pennsylvania; Kristi Walker, missionary and youth worker in Berlin, Germany; and Mel Walker, cofounder of Vision For Youth.

Students engaged in high-energy worship and pointed leadership challenges, along with one-on-one and small group interaction.

“The TLC experience is always challenging, fun, and exciting,” says Christy Timlin, a third-year counselor. “It is neat to get to be used by God in a ministry like TLC. Many students make decisions that help them grow a closer relationship with God, and it is cool to be able to see that happen. I have also been pushed by the examples of the other counselors and the messages from the speakers. This year I really enjoyed getting to know the girls in my group and having conversations about what God is teaching them.”

 Old Tradition, New Experiences

This year, organizers brought back a focus on evangelistic outreach. To do this, TLC partnered with Mission Scranton, a local Biblical outreach program designed to empower inner-city communities to live victoriously. Nathan Miller, workshop speaker and director of Mission Scranton, took TLC attendees into the heart of Scranton to reach the children, teens, and families there.

Miller says, “The groups of TLC attendees helped us in our initiative to reach new families that we haven’t connected with before in this community. I was encouraged to see the teens overcome their fears and interact in a community that was outside of their comfort zone.”

The TLC attendees received a day of training and then headed into Scranton to interact with and share the love of Christ with the people in the city.

Looking Ahead to the 50th Anniversary Celebration

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of TLC. The conference will be held July 15–19 and will celebrate all that God has done in the 50 years of TLC.

“Not many youth events last 50 years,” admits TLC Director Mel Walker. “They become irrelevant very quickly. But I think one of the beauties of TLC is that we emphasize the right things: worship, Bible study, community, practical training, outreach, and fun.”