By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
PINEVILLE – Thirteen preteens responded to Keith Badgett’s invitation to become followers of Christ during Preteen Invasion, Saturday, Aug. 24.
“We are sinners and we are broken,” Badgett said during the annual evangelism conference attended by more than 600 fourth, fifth and sixth graders at Louisiana College in Pineville. “And (God) brings us back together with the shed blood of Jesus. I’m going to give you the opportunity to follow Jesus. Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Have you cast your cares upon Him? Jesus is all that matters right now.”
Badgett, children’s pastor at the First Baptist Church in Jenks, Oklahoma, was the main speaker for PreTeen Invasion. The event inside Guinn Auditorium at Louisiana College also featured music by the Crowe Brothers from Franklinton and jump roping demonstrations by Guinness World Record champion Peter Nestler from Juneau, Alaska.
Badgett, who based his message on Matthew 28:19-20, told the preteens to see the power of the Lord and hear the calling of God. He also challenged the youngsters to share Christ at their school, and to be open to doing so one day in another country.
“Are you a disciple of Jesus?” he asked the youngsters. “Are you going for Jesus? You cannot make disciples without being a disciple yourself. He says that we are to go and make disciples.”
David Anderson, children’s ministry strategist for Louisiana Baptists, told the Baptist Message that PreTeen Invasion has become the go-to event to celebrate going back to school for fourth, fifth and sixth graders in the state.
“PreTeen Invasion is always a great day with preteens from all over the state coming together to worship and play and learn how to grow in their relationship with Jesus,” Anderson said. “This year was no different: Keith Badgett leading out in preaching; Daniel Crowe leading out in worship; and, Peter Nestler bringing extra excitement as our special guest.
“All worked together seamlessly to produce an amazing day that pointed the kids and adults all to Jesus,” Anderson noted. “Several people commented that this was the ‘best PreTeen Invasion yet.’ As for me, it was a busy and wonderful day where we saw the Spirit show up in incredible ways.”
Alexis Rivers, who came with her group from Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria, was reminded to show Jesus’ love at her school.
“Mr. Keith really hit home the importance of living for Jesus this year,” she said.
Cassidy Bealle, a member of Pineville Park Baptist Church in Pineville, enjoyed the worship sessions and fellowship with friends.
“I also thought Peter Nestler, the jump rope guy, was a lot of fun to see up there,” Bealle said. “Next year, I can’t wait to go again because I had tons of exciting fun.”