“The Teen Talent program is more than a competitive event; it is a ministry of love and guidance for Church of God students and a huge investment back into local church congregations and ministries,” said Tom Madden, Church of God international director of Youth and Discipleship.
He added, “Few experiences, if any, provide more nail-biting, laughter, butterflies-in-the-stomach, excitement, jitters, ministry fruit and creativity than Church of God Teen Talent!”
Traditionally, Teen Talent was closely connected to the Church of God General Assembly, held every two years. Two years ago church leaders voted to move and conduct the competition at a new venue with the hope and intention of being effective stewards of limited resources. Questions arose such as, “Where would Teen Talent be hosted? Would the participation level, enthusiasm and representation be negatively impacted? How would this new model look?”
Approximately 3,500 to 4,000 participants, chaperones, parents and friends were part of the Teen Talent 2011 experience with thousands staying and dining in on-campus facilities, as well as dozens of hotels and restaurants around the city. In addition to performances during the day, evening activities included a block party, rally and “wipe-out” competition.
Teen Talent was staged in the following divisions: Art, Bible, Creative Writing, Drama, Music and Multi-Media.
Church of God Assistant Director of Youth and Discipleship Gary Lewis pointed out, “The heart and goal behind Teen Talent is to discover, dedicate and develop talents for the glory of God.”
This year marked the 50th anniversary of Teen Talent in the Church of God which has helped produce many gifted musicians, pastors, writers and leaders throughout the church world.
“Some 750 individual and group entries advanced to Nationals,” Madden stated. “Nearly 2,000 individual students sang, played, acted, taught, quizzed, produced, wrote or created amazing art! Thirty-one U.S. states or regions and international countries were represented, including Canada (Eastern and Quebec), Jamaica, England/Wales (UK), Bahamas, Trinidad, Romanian Territory (Nashville), Puerto Rico and Haitian Churches from Florida.
Categories of competition were held at the North Cleveland Church of God and multiple locations across the Lee University campus. The climactic awards festival took place outdoors on the veranda of the new Science and Math Complex on Saturday evening, Aug. 6 where approximately 4,000 cheered and celebrated. More than 1,000 hits per day were noted on the “Internet live stream” of the competition sessions.
“We were very pleased to host Teen Talent in Cleveland on the campus of Lee University,” Madden stated. “President Conn, Dr. Walt Mauldin and the entire Lee University staff showed both servant's hearts and professionalism with their consistent cooperation, support and assistance as Church of God Youth and Discipleship successfully kept the 50-year Teen Talent tradition as rich and rewarding as ever.”
The 2011 International Teen Talent Competition Winners & Superiors List is available for viewing on the Youth and Discipleship website, as well as highlight photosat www.cogyouthanddiscipleship.org or www.cogyouth.org