DAVIS—More than 1,600 students and sponsors gathered at the Falls Creek Baptists Conference Center in Davis, March 13-14, to learn how to speak the gospel more “fluently” with friends, family, and neighbors.
The Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC), an annual event sponsored by Oklahoma Baptists, was originally scheduled for Falls Creek in January, but was postponed to March due to COVID precautions.
The theme for the YEC 2022 event was “Arise” and was based on Isaiah 60:1″Arise, be enlightened, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.The purpose of the conference was to give students practical instruction on how to share the gospel, as well as to help students who were not yet believers to believe in Jesus Christ.
A conversation guide, which was distributed at the YEC, explained the reason for the gathering,
“Why learn to share the Gospel? The guide asked. “Because it’s literally the best news on the planet!” Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and a relationship with God are just a few of the reasons the gospel message is good news.
“We’ve had a great group here this year,” YEC manager Brian Baldwin said. “We were a bit off from what we expected this year just because we had to postpone when people do things during spring break, but there were a big crowd at YEC this year. year.”
Baldwin, who is also the partner of Oklahoma Baptist Youth Missions and Evangelism Ministry, explained that the event included guest speakers and multiple breakouts with worship led by worship leader Craig Rigney. pastor and artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Dillon Chase, a Texas-based rapper, gave a lyrical presentation of spoken words, calling on students to focus on the thematic verse. Tommy Woodard and Eddie James, The Skit Guys, encouraged students with fun skits that helped illustrate both the right and wrong ways to share faith.
“DA Horton spoke of the urgency, fluidity and mobilization of the gospel,” Baldwin explained. “Why we should have the urgency to share and receive the Gospel. There were many people who indicated that they put their faith in Jesus. Many also engaged in the urgency to share the Gospel with their family and friends.
Horton, who was the keynote speaker at the conference and is associate pastor of Riverside, Calif., Grove Community, said he was surprised at the number of students at the conference.
“I didn’t realize there would be as many students as there were,” he said. “I mean, not just because it’s post COVID and everything is open, but because these students came to conference to be grounded in the truth of the gospel.”
Horton is director of the cross-cultural studies program and assistant professor at California Baptist University. He said there are both opportunities and challenges faced by young people today that the YEC has helped students better prepare to face.
“One of the advantages students have these days is technology,” Horton noted. “When I was younger, I didn’t have the closeness to the whole world in the palm of my hands like it does today. But it can also be dangerous if not properly managed. By leveraging technology, students are better able to influence others with the gospel with a broader reach.
Horton said the advent of technologies such as streaming media has created opportunities to start conversations about the gospel.
“Sometimes I tell students that the gospel is like a Netflix series, four seasons, with 66 episodes,” Horton said. “And as you lead them through the four major plot moves of the scriptures, then you can weave the gospel.”
Students were also introduced to a new technology developed by Oklahoma Baptists – the GoodNews Coach app. The mobile phone app helps students learn more about sharing their faith, helps them track their own progress in starting gospel conversations, and allows them to select and interact with a coach who can encourage them to advance the gospel among their friends and family.
Baldwin encouraged students to download the app to continue the education they received at YEC.
“We hope you will continue to use what you have learned here, to continue having gospel conversations,” Baldwin told students. “The GoodNews Coach app helps you to be accountable. Just like in school, you are more likely to do the work that is inspected by your teachers. The GoodNews app allows you to connect with a coach. He can s Act a Sunday School teacher or your youth pastor to let them see how you are doing in sharing your faith and hold you accountable.
Plans are underway for YEC 2023 which is set to take place next January in Falls Creek.
Learn more about the GoodNews Coach app. to visit goodnewscoach.com.