Students lift their hands in praise as the band, "Unhindered," leads worship. (PHOTO: RICHARD CLIFTON)

NORMAN—More than 8,000 Oklahoma Baptist students will return to school this fall ready to share the Gospel with their peers as a result of attending the annual Youth Evangelism Conference held Aug. 6-7 at the Lloyd Noble Center.

The conference explored Colossians 1:27 and the mystery of God’s love for us, His grace to forgive us and the mystery of His desire to use us to impact the world.

During the conference, students enjoyed messages from Ed Newton, worship with the band Unhindered, unique tricks and stunts from illusionist Brock Gill and concerts from Christian recording artists Britt Nicole and Hawk Nelson. Thousand Foot Krutch was originally scheduled to appear, but because of illness had to cancel. Fortunately, Hawk Nelson, a YEC favorite, was able to step in at the last minute.

This year, YEC staff challenged youth groups to help needy children across Oklahoma by bringing children’s athletic shoes to YEC. Bins were set up outside of Lloyd Noble Center for students to drop off shoes, and more than 200 pairs were collected. These will be distributed just in time for students to go back to school.

Newton opened the conference Friday evening with a message from Genesis 5. He used Enoch to illustrate that walking with God is a decision, a direction and creates a distinction. He also cited examples from his own testimony, noting that it was easy to get into trouble growing up with two deaf parents. He emphasized how different his behavior became when, as a freshman in high school, he accepted Christ.

Saturday morning began with a surprise appearance from a familiar face. During illusionist Gill’s act, James Lankford, former BGCO student mobilization and Falls Creek program specialist, appeared from what was thought to be an empty box, eliciting loud cheers from the crowd. Lankford challenged the students to follow Christ in everything they do. BGCO student ministers Andy Harrison, Norman Flowers and Todd Sanders expressed their appreciation for Lankford and his long-time involvement in YEC.

YEC Ringmasters Andy Harrison, Todd Sanders and Norman Flowers pray that students will impact their campus this year. (PHOTO: RICHARD CLIFTON)

Flowers also encouraged the students to use the new statewide evangelism strategy—MY316—to share the Gospel with their peers. He specifically asked students to write down the names of three friends they could begin praying for.

Following an astonishing performance from sword swallower Dan Meyer, Newton shared a message from John 6. He talked about the four types of people Jesus encountered in John 6, including the consumers, the confused, the casual and the committed. He prompted students to be part of the committed.

“When Jesus is in the boat, you will always get to your destination,” he said.

During the lunch break on Saturday, students tailgated in the parking lot and enjoyed live music and fellowship with their groups. Newton ended the conference Saturday afternoon with a message from Acts 4 telling students, “God is not interested in your ability, but in your availability.”

More than 1,000 students participated in pre-conference activities including Mission YEC and training sessions at Moore, First, which equipped students with specific methods of sharing their faith, including: how to start an evangelistic campus club, campus strategies for evangelism and responding to culture as a Christian. Mission YEC gave youth groups a chance to help ministries and schools in the Oklahoma City/Moore area by cleaning, repairing and doing light maintenance.

Students attending YEC were given a number to text message decisions they made during the conference. These text messages allow BGCO student ministry staff to follow up by providing resources and connecting the student with their local youth group. Overall, YEC 2010 saw 37 professions of faith, more than 100 rededications and many more were called to share Christ on their campus.

For more information about YEC and other student ministry events, visit

Lindsey Craig is evangelism ministry assistant for the BGCO Church Outreach Team.