Ali Beemer July 31, 2018
Rock the Universe 2018 is almost here and I hope you’re as pumped as I am. An epic weekend of theme park thrills, faith and worship awaits as Casting Crowns, Jesus Culture, TobyMac and more are set to take the stage at Universal Studios Florida.
From the beginning, Rock the Universe has been an ideal retreat for youth groups. The fun, fellowship and incredible music are what truly make this event unique.
Few can speak to the impact this event has on youth groups quite like Tony Sorrell, a Florida-based youth minister who has attended 12 Rock the Universe events with various groups. He has been involved in youth ministry for more than two decades and currently serves at First United Methodist Church of Port Orange, where he’s been for nearly eight years. I recently caught up with Tony to learn why he loves Rock the Universe and how this experience has benefited his youth groups.
What impact has Rock the Universe had on your youth group?
Rock the Universe is definitely the most talked-about event of the year within my youth group. It’s a convergence of two worlds. Students feel like they can go to Universal Studios Florida and enjoy the spirituality, listen to music and be with their friends. It’s also an opportunity for them to have fun in the best theme park in the country.
Do you have a favorite memory from Rock the Universe?
There are so many great memories. It’s hard to choose! A few years ago, there was an option to choose Christian music on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and that was really awesome. The Candlelighting Ceremony is always amazing, as well.
What has brought you back to Rock the Universe for so many years?
Rock the Universe spoils youth ministers. The chaperone lounges are a huge benefit. Most youth groups must always be supervised, so the leaders are always working. It’s good for us to take turns relaxing and meeting with artists in the lounges. We also love the option to purchase an Express Pass. My students ride all the rides using their Express Pass and then they’re free to watch the concerts for the rest of the evening.
Which artist’s performance are you most excited to watch?
All my kids are looking forward to Lauren Daigle. They won’t stop talking about it!
In between performances, what’s your favorite attraction to experience?
I think my all-time favorite ride is MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack because, as a youth minister, I get to spend time battling, laughing and bonding with my students.
Why do you think other church youth groups should attend?
The fellowship that happens is top notch – and it’s not a traditional lock-in at the church! Rock the Universe gives us an exciting place to have fun and enjoy great thrills and great music for a great price. I plan to return for years to come.