By Message Staff
PINEVILLE – During an evening session of the 2018 Evangelism Conference, Brent Crowe urged hundreds of adults and youth to make sure redemption through Christ was part of their life story.
“When Jesus calls us to tell a story in our life that has redemption as the theme and the redeemer Jesus as the central character, He not only bids us to tell the story but He provides us all the resources that are necessary so that theme will be true in our lives,” said Crowe, vice president of Student Leadership University in Orlando, Fla. “If redemption is not the theme of the story we are telling in our life, then our story is not worth telling.”
Crowe spoke Jan. 22 to a packed crowd in the worship center at First Baptist Church, Pineville, while hundreds of youth watched from their home churches via a livestream broadcast during student night at ECON.
At the invitation, three students came forward to declare Christ the Lord of lives, four repented to restore fellowship with Christ, two responded to the Holy Spirit’s call to vocational ministry and one made an undisclosed spiritual commitment.
Student night also featured the testimony of Kayla Sasser, a member of the youth group at Philadelphia Baptist Church, Deville. A combined choir of students and the Ray Jones and Community Bible Church, San Antonio, Texas, band, also were part of the service. Meanwhile the BMX bike stunt team from Real Encounter ministry entertained students before a pizza supper just for the youth.
But even after student night, youth attending ECON continued making decisions for Christ. Olivia Gallineau, the granddaughter of Baptist Message advertising director Rhonda Havens, recommitted her life to Christ after ECON speaker Iris Blue shared with her the importance of being all in for Jesus.
Student night kicked off the first of many large events in 2018 for Harvest, a statewide campaign that so far has enlisted nearly 900 of 1,650 Louisiana Baptist churches to “pray for every home and share Christ with every person” in Louisiana.
State strategists spent 2016 to plan and enlist leaders and churches and in 2017 conducted statewide evangelism training and piloted different methods.
Now, Louisiana Baptists are joining together across the state in 2018 for prayer events and intentional soul-winning activities.
The cooperative effort will include a diversity of approaches such as multi-church crusades, one-on-one evangelism, single-church revivals and other activities which leverage compassion ministries to share about the love of Christ.
Among those who attended student night was Ysabella Gilbert, a seventh grader from Philadelphia Baptist, Deville.
“I’ve become closer to Christ,” Gilbert said. “So I thought this would help grow my faith. And it definitely did as I continue my walk with Jesus.”
Meanwhile, sixth grader Lasandra Smoot came to student night with other members of the youth group from Life Pointe Community Church in Mansura.
“I came tonight so I could learn about God and to meet people,” Smoot said. “I also came here so I can learn how to go around telling people about God. Everything I learned I can now use to share Jesus with my friends at school and in the community.”
Zach Johnson, youth minister at Tioga, First Baptist Church, said some of his students enjoyed Student Night so much and voiced interest in returning for the remaining sessions.
“They had seen two of their friends they have been praying for get saved at student night and wanted to worship alongside their new brothers in Christ,” he said. “It was an answer to prayer to hear them say that whether I came or not, they wanted to be there.
“As a youth pastor, or any minister, your goal is to see those you lead take ownership of their faith,” he said. “We work to produce disciples of Christ who do not require us to spoon feed them spiritual things. My students’ desire to attend a worship service on their own is a sign of where they are spiritually, and a huge blessing to me.”
Crowe will make a return trip to the state March 15 for the Louisiana Youth Minister’s network Forum at Louisiana College. For more information, call 318.448.3402, ext. 217, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.