OCA Youth Department issues first-ever “YouTube Challenge!”

Youth Challenge


This Challenge exists to help you find your voice, and give you a place to share it. The world today, and even our Church has so much to say to our youth and young adults. However, as we all become more mature in our faith we find our own voice, our own ways of articulating what we know and believe. Additionally, we will provide you with helpful feedback and guidance so that your skills can be sharpened and honed to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in your own life. Welcome to the 2012 OCA YouTube Challenge! We hope it is the first of many.

High School Division

The High School Division (Ages 14-18) will respond with a video by midnight on November 10, 2012 to the following question: Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 5:14-16) In our time, many people believe that Christianity is “out of touch” or “irrelevant.” Given that challenge, how do we share the light of Jesus Christ with others today?

College Division

The College Division (Ages 18-28) will respond with a video by midnight on November 10, 2012 to the following question: “Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.’ Pilate said to him ‘What is truth?’ After he said this, he went out to the Jews again…” (John 18:37-38)  Pontius Pilate stands condemned in the Church’s judgment, for failing to recognize the truth of Jesus Christ. But what is truth? How can a Christian recognize it, how can a non-Christian recognize it, and (most importantly), how can we speak of the eternal truth of the Gospel of Christ, in today’s culture, where every notion of truth, belief and faith is increasingly relative?

Individual and Group Submissions

Submissions to either of the above divisions may be made by high school or college individuals or informal groups, parish youth groups, OCF Chapters, and Junior FOCA Chapters, etc.  The highest scoring group submission in each division will be offered a free visit by Father Sergius Halvorsen, Homiletics Professor at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and Andrew Boyd, OCA Youth Director.  Father Sergius and Andrew will lead your group in an engaging and lively, full-day retreat based on the challenge questions that will include discussions, fellowship and worship.

What you need to know…

  • While we encourage consultation with clergy and lay leaders (and can help facilitate it if need be) the submission must be the sole, creative work of the individual.
  • Submissions must be electronic, either by submitting a video file or a link to a YouTube video. If using YouTube, you must abide by their code of conduct and rules. We suggest you keep the video private and disable comments.
  • Submissions are due by November 10th at midnight and must be submitted via email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
  • Please indicate your desire to participate by October 20th by emailing (or having your parent/guardian email) Andrew Boyd, Youth Director, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). He will contact you with more information and specifics.
  • All individuals will receive an OCA flash drive with pre-loaded content for participating.
  • Those under the age of 18 must secure parental permission to participate. Please email Andrew Boyd at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more details.
  • The highest scoring individual submission overall will be offered an all expenses paid trip to the National Festival of Young Preachers in January 2013, along with help, guidance, and coaching for that festival.
  • Video submissions should be 6-10 minutes in length.
  • This challenge is open to all Orthodox Christians in North America.

Judging Criteria

I.  Judging will be administered by a group of four clergy members:

  • Father Sergius Halvorsen PhD., Assistant Professor of Homelitics and Rhetoric at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary.
  • Father Timothy Hojnicki, Rector of Holy Apostles Mission in Mechanicsburg, PA.
  • Father Theophan Whitfield, Rector of Saint Nicholas Church in Salem, MA.
  • Deacon Jason Ketz, Deacon at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Minneapolis, MN.

II.  Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

30 points for…

  • Doctrinal accuracy: accurate: the message is in accord with the teachings of the Orthodox Church.  This is a “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down” category.
  • Christ-centered content: the message focuses on Jesus Christ and His teaching.

30 points for…

  • Engaging content: the message is interesting and coherent.

30 points for…

  • Inspiration:  the message is inspiring, uplifting and hopeful.

10 points for…

  • ...how successful the speaker or speakers is/are in conveying a sense of their own joy and love for Jesus Christ and His Church.

Final scores will represent the average based on the score awarded by each judge.

Final scores and winners will be announced prior to December 10, 2012. Judges may also ask for permission to share certain videos on the “OCA Youth” Facebook page via our Department’s YouTube channel. Judging will be blind, that is, the identity of the groups or individuals submitting videos will not be known to the judges until after the scores are calculated.

Why Should YOU Participate?

That’s a good question! Here are several reasons:

  • You may want to answer these questions for yourself so that when others ask you, you can provide an answer.
  • It provides a creative outlet! You may wish to answer with a prepared speech, but you can also answer with a creative video.
  • You will have an opportunity to practice public speaking, a necessary skill in almost any occupation or academic endeavor.
  • It will look good on your resume.
  • You will receive individualized feedback from experienced public speakers.
  • At the very least, there’s a free OCA flashdrive in it for you!

How Can YOU participate?

Simply email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more details! Include “YouTube Challenge” in the subject line.