By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
PINEVILLE – Churches throughout the state are encouraged to pray for a great harvest of souls of youth expected to attend the upcoming Student Night Jan. 22 at the Louisiana Baptist Convention Evangelism Conference.
One of the first events for 2018 associated with the statewide Harvest initiative to “pray for every home and share with every person” in Louisiana, Student Night will feature a pre-session pizza party, a demonstration by the Real Encounter stunt team and music by Elevate, a travel band from Louisiana College.
The main session, which will be live streamed, will feature Ray Jones and the Community Bible Church Praise Team of San Antonio, and, a message by Brent Crowe of Orlando, Fla.
Jones is the brother-in-law of Wayne Jenkins, who is retiring as Louisiana Baptists’ director of evangelism and church growth, and Crowe is a vice president with Student Leadership University, which was founded by Southern Baptist evangelist Jack Strack.
The pre-session will begin at 5 p.m. inside the Family Life Center of First Baptist Church, Pineville.
Steve Maltempi, youth strategist for Louisiana Baptists, said Student Night is a continuation of a challenge to share Christ that youth were presented with during the 2017 Youth Evangelism Celebration in Lafayette.
“Student Night is the perfect follow-up to YEC,” Maltempi said. “Students were motivated to be evangelistic at YEC and Student Night at ECON is their chance to bring lost friends to a free event their friends will love. Students are encouraged to pray specifically for their lost friends and invite them to Student Night.”
For those unable to attend Student Night, the event will be livestreamed beginning at 6:30 p.m. Churches can log onto louisiananbaptists.org/livestream and follow instructions from there for access. Last year, numerous churches hosted rallies via livestream.
“I can’t wait to see what God does at Student Night and at locations live streaming across Louisiana,” Maltempi said. “Last year folks took advantage of the live streaming by doing it for their entire youth group or small group and Sunday School leaders hosted parties for their class, or individual youth hosted their own party. It was amazing to see the many ways folks used the live streaming.”
Maltempi calls Crowe one of the best youth communicators in the nation and is confident he will “connect with churched and unchurched students alike.”
While serving with Student Leadership University, Crowe has trained more than 148,000 students to commit themselves to excellence and living out their faith.
Crowe said he is excited to be a part of what he anticipates will be a movement of God during Student Night; and, he urged Louisiana Baptists to pray for that favor from Him.
“I would simply say to youth pastors and workers that this is going to be a night that the Gospel will be clearly presented,” Crowe said. “Therefore, please pray for students by name that on that night that they would hear the words from the Savior that so many have heard before…’come and follow me.’
“Dr. Billy Graham once said that if you want to see God move greatly, pray, pray and then pray some more,” he continued. “There has never been a great movement of God divorced from people who faithfully prayed and petitioned the Lord to do what only He could do. I believe that we need a revival of prayer in our local church. And I’m hoping that the Lord will once again move and bring awakening to our land.”
HARVEST KICKOFF FOR ‘18
Thirty youth received salvation during Student Night at the 2017 ECON, which kicked off the Harvest campaign after a year of Louisiana Baptists’ evangelism strategists sharing about the vision and helping churches develop plans to participate in it.
In 2017, more than 850 churches signed up to be part of the statewide evangelistic initiative; evangelism training was conducted in churches and local associations and different evangelism methods were piloted.
In 2018, Louisiana Baptists will be working together in concentrated prayer and soul-winning activities such as multi-church crusades, door-to-door outreach, one-on-one evangelism, single-church revivals and other activities which leverage compassion ministries to share about the love of Christ.
“It is our desire for Student Night to be a portion of the Harvest events for churches in the local area of the conference and across the state,” said Keith Manuel, evangelism associate for Louisiana Baptists. “Thanks to the Cooperative Program, this can be an extra event for our churches with national speakers/musicians that is provided at no cost or in the case of a church using the live stream, just the cost of some snacks to reach students in their community for Christ.”
“The reports of salvations and life-change from last year’s event were amazing,” he continued. “We are asking churches all over the state to pray for this event. Pray for students and adults to be open to the gospel and for a willingness to become growing disciples who boldly communicate the gospel of Jesus with their friends and families.”