In all, 4,084 youth learned the remedy that can cure the culture at this year’s 21st annual Youth Evangelism Conference – YEC.
ALEXANDRIA – In all, 4,084 youth learned the remedy that can cure the culture at this year’s 21st annual Youth Evangelism Conference – YEC.
The remedy is Jesus Christ.
YEC is Louisiana’s largest Baptist youth event, where teens gather at the Rapides Coliseum over a course of three days for a time of worship, fellowship and plenty of fun. Attendance this year was up by about 800 over last year.
YEC is a time for youth to be recharged and revived in a culture that goes against the Word of God. Many lives are changed indefinitely during YEC, said Kevin Boles, director of youth ministries strategies for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. He reported 150 recorded decisions for salvation, rededication or call to ministry.
“If God’s called you out and changed your life, you have the remedy for this culture,” Boles said Sunday evening, during the opening session. “There is a call to be radical. This state, nation and world needs it.”
Jon Gillis, featured speaker from Atlanta, focused on the Great Commission in Matthew chapter 28. He spoke of how Jesus calls his people out to go out into the world and make disciples.
The theme of radical living for Christ was shown over and over again during YEC. Along with Gillis, YEC featured several other big names on today’s Christian scene.
“It does not matter where you are from or what you have done, God has a solution for your life,” Gillis said as he challenged students to put aside their past and look forward to a radical life in Christ.
The Jeff Johnson Band led the youth in a time of worship during each session. Comedians Bean and Bailey brought laughter throughout the crowd as they sang Christmas songs and arguably their most popular song – “The Wal-mart Greeter.” Comedian and ventriloquist Taylor Mason brought out his puppets and even called several students on stage to help him in his act.
With all of the other acts at YEC each year, a concert is always featured on Monday night, which gets the youth pumped up and excited. Rush of Fools was the featured concert this year.
One of the most exciting things for youth at YEC is their own participation. When churches register their group for YEC, they have an opportunity to sign their group up for on-stage participation. This can include things such as group drama, singing, interpretive movement and individual testimony.
This year, several students gave their testimony. One of these students was Allyson Collins.
Collins stood on stage Sunday night and continued the theme of radical living by calling out students in the building to be radical in their schools.
“When I was a sophomore in high school, my sister told me that I’ve only got four years in school with these people and I better make it count,” Collins said as she emphasized the importance of students being intentional in their faith.
Students like Collins have YEC as an opportunity to share their faith and challenge others to do the same, by bringing friends to the hard-charging annual event.
Will Wallace, 14, a student at McDonald Memorial Baptist in Jonesboro, attended YEC for the second time this year.
“It was a great chance to worship God through song with other people,” Wallace said. “The speaker was really cool. I learned a lot more than I do in big church.”
Wallace, along with many others, found value in fellowship with other believers through YEC.
Elizabeth Erath, 17, from Westside Baptist in Natchitoches, attended YEC for the first time this year.
“YEC was really exciting,” Erath said. “The sermons were really good, but my favorite part was the skits that the churches did.”
It’s good to see other people her age living for God, Erath added.
“It was a really good experience for me,” Erath said. “It was like a revival that brings you even closer to God. When I go to things like that it makes me want to do more as a Christian.”
The goal of YEC has been reached for 2008, Boles said. Teens have been challenged to a radical lifestyle that is the remedy for a dying culture, and many have chosen to live out the challenge.