Thousands of children across the United States will attend youth ministry conferences this year put on by an organization that has emerged to help fill the void left by the closure of Ron Luce's Teen Mania and it's iconic national "Acquire the Fire" youth conferences.
As financial troubles caused Teen Mania to fold in 2015 after more than two decades of holding revival-like events attended by over 3 million youth nationwide, Ryan Edberg, the frontman for the Christian rock band Silverline, has acted on a new calling in his life after over 13 years in the music industry.
Edberg, who performed with his band at "Acquire the Fire" events in the past, co-founded Kingdom Youth Conference to be a "fresh new youth event" designed to impact students and leaders and inspire them to live out their faith.
He told The Christian Post in an interview that he was inspired by the impact that he saw "Acquire the Fire" have on the youth in attendance.
Since 2016, dozens of two-day Kingdom Youth conferences have been held at various megachurches, hotels and conference centers nationwide that are typically attended by 250 to 300 students and 30-plus church youth groups, Edberg told CP.
"We felt like we were called to do youth conferences or something for youth but we weren't really sure. And I think that God really knew that there was something that needed to keep going for the youth," said Edberg. "A lot of the people that had come [to our events] had thanked us and said, 'You know, we're trying to find something for the last couple years for us to do. We just couldn't find anything anymore.'"
Kingdom Youth's conferences are predominantly attended by kids who are already a part of church youth groups. According to Edberg, Kingdom Youth Conference is the "cheapest youth conference around" with tickets starting around $25 per child and averaging about $35 per child.
"So I've seen a lot of the youth conferences up to $200. And we just want to make sure that every student that wants to go to the event isn't hindered by finances," he said.
The conference usually begins Friday mornings with worship and transitions into a Gospel message after that. The day ends with a concert on Friday evening.