The first day of our trip has been an adventure. We actually left the church close to on time and made great time to Chattanooga. No issues getting checked in to the hotel and everyone had a blast at Steak n Shake. Then the adventure began…
Our High School bus began experiencing mechanical issues and wasn’t able to get us from dinner to the convention center for the Dare 2 Share conference. The Middle Schoolers got to the conference as it began and their bus came back to pick the rest of us up. Our High Schoolers missed the first 45 minutes of the conference but were very gracious and understanding through it all. We have an amazing group of students.
The conference experience, thus far, has been amazing and the kids have absolutely loved it. There was great teaching and humorous skits tonight. But the adventure really took off for us the last hour of the Friday night session. Dare 2 Share put on a very compelling and emotionally gripping drama portraying the difficulties of life in High School and the desperate need of teenagers to hear and believe the Gospel. Several of our students were moved by the production and identified with the characters in the drama.
Greg Stier of Dare 2 Share then came out and shared the Gospel, clearly and compassionately, and we had 4 of our students indicate their decision to trust in Jesus Christ…WOW! In addition to the 4 that put their faith and trust in Jesus tonight, nearly every other student (almost 50 of them) shared with me the name of a friend that they are going to share the Gospel with upon returning home. God moved in a mighty way creating 4 new lives in Him tonight and the promise of dozens more in the coming weeks as our students share their faith with their friends!
We’re still dealing with only having one bus that is operating, having to take 2 trips back to the hotel tonight and we’ll have to take 2 trips to the convention center tomorrow morning. Please pray that this can be resolved tomorrow. This issue seems so minimal to me tonight as I reflect upon the significant life change that has taken place in our group.
I have never felt so much joy and have never felt as honored as I do in this moment to be the Student Ministry Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church!!!
The second day of our Dare 2 Share conference was another rewarding experience! After being trained to share their faith and given tips on how to start spiritual conversations, our students (along with over 2000 other students) were unleashed on the city of Chattanooga to live THE Cause of Christ!
The outreach experience was planned in two parts. First, our Middle School and High School students each headed to a different school campus in town. Yes, this means they finally got our 2nd bus working! The students participated in a prayer walk around these schools, praying for the campus they were walking as well as their schools in Johnson City. We debriefed the prayer walk and prepared for the second phase of our outreach experience: heading to a local mall for dinner and to engage strangers with the Gospel.
Every single student was nervous about sharing the Gospel, as were several of our leaders :), but after dinner we set out to accomplish our mission. While none of us experienced leading someone to Christ, everyone approached a stranger and engaged them in a spiritual conversation and had the opportunity to share the Gospel. Everyone!!!
There were two things that were said by our students as the outreach experience unfolded. When we were debriefing the Dare 2 Share weekend, one of our seniors said, “We have been on many youth conferences that talk about the faith we have, but this is the first conference we have gone to that they told us what we were capable of doing with our faith!” That was incredible for me to hear! The second realization was had by all of our students. As we were loading the buses leaving the mall every student said that sharing their faith was so much easier than they thought and they were all grateful for the challenge to share the Gospel with people.
I am so excited for this past weekend at Dare 2 Share! My prayer is that this is a significant step in our journey as we continue to BUILD up students to REACH out to students. Thank you for your prayers over this weekend! It was something truly amazing.