In December 2020, our leadership team had to make some really hard decisions. Many Oklahoma Baptists-sponsored events in January and February had to be canceled because of COVID-19. This was a difficult decision, as it meant the Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) scheduled in January at Falls Creek was affected.
It was tough because we love the way God moves powerfully in the youth groups who attend YEC each year. Incredible inspiration and equipping for evangelism happen in the lives of individuals and church youth groups during the event. But, as with most large group gatherings this past year, meeting together in person was not going to be possible.
The good news is that the closing of one door often leads to the opening of another, and YEC Virtual (oklahomabaptists.org/yec) was born! The result? From January 1 to February 1 there were 2,477 web page views with 1,721 of those being unique users. If the majority of those users are youth leaders downloading resources for their groups, the impact is far greater than we could have imagined!
We’re extremely proud of how our churches have stepped up to the plate in faithfully and creatively advancing the Gospel despite not getting to be at many of our events like Falls Creek and YEC. Oklahoma Baptists love hearing the Falls Creek salvation bell ring. On March 1, the Conference Center rang the bell in celebration of those students who made professions of faith in Christ so far in 2021. These spiritual decisions happened through our churches’ efforts to advance the Gospel through YEC Virtual, Disciple Now (DNow) events, youth meetings, etc.
We were thankful to ring the bell 128 times to represent those churches that reported to us with the number of youth professions of faith they’ve had this year! God is so good!
YEC Virtual is a free and unique training event for teens that delivered excellent training on evangelism and helped students become disciples who can make disciples. We were thrilled to see what God did and is still doing through this virtual event.
Solid Biblical training and hands-on outreach opportunities engaged students’ faith in genuine and powerful ways. YEC Virtual helped inspire teens to understand why it’s important to share the Gospel. It gave them the information they need to have clarity of what the Gospel actually is. Students learned how to apply what they know about the Gospel and skillfully engage in Gospel conversations.
Lastly, YEC Virtual helped students activate all they’ve learned about evangelism and actually do it. By the end of YEC Virtual, student ministries had the opportunity to put together a clear action plan with measurable goals to advance the Gospel in their communities. YEC Virtual could be used in a variety of ways such as DNow weekends, Wednesday night series or revivals.
Various elements were included with the resources such as:
- General session sermons (4) worship (5) skits (4)
- Breakout videos (22)
- Bible study resources (3)
- Promotional social media images, videos
- General session and breakout note guides
- Speaker bios
- Strategic action plan document and instructions
- Virtual outreach/service project ideas
- Missions mobilization portal
- Decision follow-up resources
YEC Virtual taught us a lot. We saw firsthand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can’t be contained by distance, fear or even a pandemic. And now we know, more than ever, how powerful technology can be for training and unleashing the next generation.
Access YEC Virtual today at oklahomabaptists.org/yec and consider joining us for YEC at Falls Creek next year on Jan. 16-17, 2022. Come see what God can do in and through your church’s youth group when they’re inspired and equipped to advance the Gospel!