TULSA—There is a moment in time when God makes an impact on your life; it is a time when God moves in you; it is a ‘Kairos’ moment, said speakers at the Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) at the Mabee Center, Aug. 10-11.
“Before time began, God thought about you,” proclaimed Friday night’s speaker Derwin Gray, former NFL player for the Indianapolis Colts.
Gray started off the conference on a high note as he challenged students to begin allowing Christ to control every aspect of their lives. Gray shared his testimony of growing up in San Antonio, Texas, pursuing a football career as a way of creating a better life and then ultimately how he came to know the Lord. He presented the Gospel, and that night, students truly saw how the Lord can change lives.
On Saturday morning, speaker Afshin Ziafat continued Gray’s challenge by starting off asking students, “we have a very limited amount of time. What are you going to do with the time you’ve been given?”
Ziafat also shared his story of coming to Christ and having to choose between his Islamic family and his heavenly Father. Using 1 Thess. 1:4-10, Ziafat challenged students to understand the Gospel, turn from their idols to serve God and follow the Lord even in the midst of affliction.
However, YEC incorporates so much more than powerful messages from speakers. Norman Flowers, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma student evangelism and mobilization specialist, said the focus of YEC is “to give students a glimpse of the deep and wide parts of sharing their faith, and there are so many aspects of the conference that can show them that.”
One of these ways occurred at Mission YEC. During this time, 1,200 students gathered at the Church at BattleCreek in Broken Arrow to package 200,000 meals to send to an IMB missionary in Egypt.
Flowers said, “If young people today see a need, they want to respond to that need. At Mission YEC, we give them an opportunity, and every year, they exceed our expectations.”
Toby from Kansas reaffirmed this observation saying, “Whenever I got to Mission YEC I didn’t know what to expect, but after hearing about how many people die from starvation each year and knowing we had the resources to help them, I had to do something.”
Mission YEC was not the only opportunity students had to give of themselves, though. On Friday night, a special mission offering was taken for victims of the recent Oklahoma wildfires. During this offering, students gave $2,421.
The wildfires affected some of the students who were planning on coming to the conference, and Flowers said this offering was a very practical way students could help their fellow classmates and friends.
Students at the conference also learned about foreign missions with presentations from those who had been on GO Students trips to Washington, D.C.; Paris, France and East Asia, and about local missions with the presentation of the Life Book.
The Life Book Movement is a push for students to tell their classmates about Christ by giving them the gift of this book. This book presents the Gospel as well as teenagers’ commentary on understanding Scripture and Jesus Christ. Students were challenged to take these Life Books into their schools as the school year begins.
Finally, students were able to join together in worship with the Dutton Band leading, and then enjoy several concerts from popular Christian artists.
Both Coffee Anderson and Jamie Grace provided pre-session entertainment, and Tenth Avenue North and Kutless both had a concert for the students to attend. Students enjoyed being silly singing childhood songs like “Father Abraham” and then worshipping to popular songs they get to hear on the radio.
Overall, the conference made a huge impact on all those that attended. Flowers said that if nothing else, his prayer is that students “accept the challenge of going back to their families, schools and communities, and making a difference by serving Christ through service projects and relationships.”
(Photos: Samantha Stroder)