A popular local Christian youth conference is returning to the Hermiston Assembly of God for its second year, this week.

Terry Haight, pastor of the Hermiston?Assembly of God church, said the conference, known as “Pursuit,” started last year because the youth and young adults at his church told him they wanted more out of their faith experience in Hermiston.

“The youth of today want to serve a purpose,” Haight said. “They want to have an identity … We want to provide a place for youth that have a hunger for God or those who are hungry or hurting.

“For several years, the young adults and youth of the church have been begging us to do more for the youth,” he said. “They want to have more opportunities to spend more time pursuing God.”

This year’s conference begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Hermiston Assembly of God Church and continues all day Friday and Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. both days. It will feature three guest speakers — Christ Overstreet, Timothy McCain and his wife, Madai McCain. The McCains are both evangelical speakers who tour in the United States as well as overseas and spread word of the gospel. Overstreet is the outreach pastor for the Bethel Church and Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in?Redding, Calif.

The sessions will also feature the Pursuit Band and a variety of LED light displays to give it a more edgy feel for the youth in attendance, Haight said.

The topics discussed during each of the sessions throughout the three days include the power of prayer, dating and relationships, how to reach out to people in the community and how to be led by God to serve the needs of people locally.

On Saturday, participants will also get the chance to go into the Hermiston community to see how they can help people who are struggling.

“There are a lot of people that need prayer or even an encouraging word,” Haight said. “I’m not talking about social projects. There are people who need our help, who are depressed or discouraged.”

Haight said even though the event will be geared toward the youth and young adult population, the event is open to anyone. He said the event is free.

“God will be moving and touching hearts during those services,” he said. Last year, Haight said about 350 people attended the conference.

This year, he expects to attract even more participants, which will include many area youth groups.

He said, with more time to plan and get the word out about the event, he expects to meet capacity for the church each night, seating approximately 500 people.

“Last year, it exceeded our expectations,” he said. “This year we hope to welcome even more people.”

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