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Many challenged and blessed at YEC 2014


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Brothers and Sisters!

I am “overflowing” with gratitude to the Lord for blessing upon blessing at the SBC of Virginia’s two Youth Evangelism Conferences (East and West). Allow me to give you a brief recap and report:


  • YEC WEST: 525 for YEC and 252 for concert only. Another 60 Staff & Guests brought our numbers to 837 TOTAL for the West.
  • YEC EAST: 946 for YEC, staffers and guests, 37 and 94 unique visitors for our live-stream concert outreach. 1,077 TOTAL for the East.
  • Our combined total was 1,914!!!

God brought together a great team of people for YEC. I am so thankful for their excellent service, humility and enthusiasm for the Lord and for this outreach event.

Matt Lawson challenged students to “put their ‘yes’ on the table”

Matt’s messages were on point and emphasized that the difference between “actual” and “potential” is “sacrifice of obedience”. He challenged students to believe in the difference they could make and to “put their ‘yes’ on the table” in their walk with God. Matt offered some examples of students who have done big things for the Kingdom, then announced the personal nature of this message as he revealed his months long struggle to come to terms with God’s calling of him to plant a new church in the Los Angeles area. Matt’s announcement was shared with his home church of FBC Woodstock the following Sunday.

Canon and Andy Mineo created a buzz—and shared Truth

The decision to bring in Canon (East) and Andy Mineo (West) created quite a buzz. The gospel was clearly proclaimed at both concerts by the artists and our keynote speaker, Matt Lawson. We know of at least three decisions to follow Christ that came as result. In the East we encouraged students to invite friends to join the concert via live stream. In the West, we were able to partner with Fellowship of Christian Athletes to provide over 400 complimentary concert tickets for area Huddle Group leaders to give to students. Praise the Lord!

Personalities shared testimonies and lead students into worship

Students were exposed to local church ministry of David Slayton, pastor of South Norfolk Baptist and Coach James Simons (US Navy) and the practical ministry they do in their neighborhoods and the fruit that is coming from it. They heard the testimony of DJ PDogg; who serves as an elder at Summit Church of Raleigh-Church and is planting a church in urban Raleigh-Durham area. Emcee, Adam Long (SBCV youth pastor and SBCV church planter-apprentice at Catalyst Church) and Keynote speaker, Matt Lawson, (Youth Pastor and soon-to-be church planter in Los Angeles) had stage time with attendees and shared their love for God and desire to reach new people with the Gospel. We were led in worship by Citizen Way (East) and by the band Exodus, from Liberty University (West) – each are an amazing group of musicians with a desire to connect us to God in worship.

Student pastors had an opportunity to glean from Matt Lawson’s experience

Youth leaders and Pastors gathered with Matt for a brief session on Saturday afternoon as Matt shared how FBC Woodstock pursued evangelism with students from a programming perspective and fielded questions for about 10 additional minutes.

Volunteers gave of their time and come together to serve

This year, several groups brought in some volunteers to assist with the events, which reduced the financial costs of the weekend. Special thanks to: London Bridge Baptist Youth (John Walker); Smyrna Baptist in Dinwiddie (Sweh Velilla); Grace-Life College department (thanks Jonathan Couch); Allen Thompson (formerly of Matoaca Youth, now pastoring Jones Chapel Baptist); and Michael Rodriguez of FBC Roanoke had some leaders stay after to help with load-out.

Two student pastors shared encouraging reports

Here are just a couple of stories of how the Lord has used YEC in students’ lives:

“We had a great weekend with you guys! This is the third year in a row we've come and in my opinion, this year was the best yet! Matt was on point with all of this talks! We've been pushing hard with our students to have more of an evangelistic mindset and everything that was done this weekend refreshed our students and encouraged them to become more active in sharing their faith!” –Youth Pastor in Roanoke.

“My youth group had a great time at YEC . . . The youth were so excited this morning, and were even able to share some of what they learned this morning during service-- some of the congregation was even brought to tears at the testimony of these teens. Though it was a youth conference, the two adults who came as chaperones and myself got a great deal out of the convention. One of the youth have already told me about how they told a friend about Jesus (which is especially great considering we didn't get home till 9 last night). I had one youth give their heart to the Lord last night, and I was privileged enough to lead them in that . . . .” Youth Pastor from Gore.

SBCV Studentz is thankful to many

Special thanks to London Bridge Baptist of Virginia Beach and First Baptist Church of Roanoke for hosting our events. Their staff pulled out all the stops for us! It’s the very best example of what partnership can do to bless so many. The Innovative Faith Resources Team of the SBCV really shines when it comes to producing great events, and they deserve some recognition—from lights, to camera work to video production they really are top-notch! Also, special thanks to the Regional Missionaries of the SBCV, they are humble servants who are willing to do “whatever, whenever” to get the job done. I’m so grateful for their work on behalf of SBCV Studentz.

Lastly, thanks to the Lord, Jesus Christ, whose Glory is the goal we all seek and whose love, mercy and grace is the motivation for all our efforts. Jesus brought 50 students to make some sort of publicly recorded decision through these events—25 of them for salvation. Thanks be to God!

In the days ahead, we will be making notes for improvements next year. If you have thoughts, please pass them along to I’ve already listed several items and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Shawn Ames
Student Ministry Strategist, SBCV