I know that Christ came, died, and rose again for my sin. However, the only difference tonight was that I actually repented!”
This is just one testimony of a life changed at the 2023 SBCV Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC). Although this student from Pinecrest Baptist Church in Portsmouth, VA had heard the Gospel before, he told his student pastor, Stephen Day, that he had never truly repented of his sin. He has since been baptized!
This January’s YEC was the second largest attended YEC in the history of the SBC of Virginia! Representing 60 churches across the Commonwealth, over 900 people attended London Bridge Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, VA. The theme of Revive was from Psalm 19:7a: “The law of the Lord is perfect; reviving the soul.”
YEC is always an excellent opportunity for student ministries to come together. This year was no exception. Attendees were encouraged and challenged by God’s Word, equipped in evangelism, and engaged in fellowship.
“I brought my students to YEC because I knew they would have a powerful encounter with the Gospel and leave equipped to share it,” said Pastor Day.
National Next Gen director for the North American Mission Board, Shane Pruitt, was the speaker. Bryan Drake shared the Gospel through his illusionist routine, and Chapels led worship.
Friday night, Pruitt laid the foundation for the entire conference by going through John 3:16-18. As he gave the Gospel invitation, many students flooded the stage in response to the Lord’s calling on their hearts.
Saturday morning, Pruitt discussed Acts 19:11-20, where he examined true repentance and how it affects our lives. He also equipped attendees with the 3 Circles evangelism guide and encouraged everyone to pray for BOB: Burden to share, Opportunities to share, Boldness to share. Pruitt challenged everyone to text three red circles to a family member or friend who needed to hear about Jesus. Pruitt gave another invitation and many students responded, providing students an opportunity to talk with their peers and share the 3 Circles personally.
In the final session on Saturday afternoon, Pruitt emphasized obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-20) and the universal calling to know God and make Him known. He also shared that some believers have a unique or specific call to serve God with their lives vocationally. In that session’s invitation, he invited students to respond if they sensed God calling them to serve Him vocationally, and many responded.
A student from Pinecrest who felt called to ministry explained, “Who else will go? Why not me?” According to Pastor Day, this student is passionate about sharing the Gospel and leading others to do so with him. He is excited about taking the lead in helping the student ministry serve the local community.
Based on decision counseling forms, the conference resulted in 50 decisions for salvation and 8 decisions for calling. We praise God for His work at the 2023 Youth Evangelism Conference and pray for continued fruit!
YEC was a beautiful reminder to Pastor Day that “The Gospel still works. God still saves and calls out those who desire to serve Him…no matter how old they are.”
We are currently planning the 2024 YEC. If you are considering bringing students from your church, Pastor Day wants to encourage you: “Do you want a powerful Gospel-centered event that will challenge and equip your students? Come to YEC!” ■