By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM) – Organizers and participants of the recent Youth Evangelism Celebration celebrated the 719 students who made a decision for Christ.
After moving to a regional format in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns, YEC returned, Nov. 21-22, to its traditional home at the Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria.
“It was so good to be back at the Rapides Parish Coliseum and to hear more than 4,000 voices singing to Jesus,” Louisiana Baptist Youth Strategist Brandon Lewis told the Baptist Message. “God moved and hundreds of lives were changed.”
YEC challenged 4,600 Louisiana Baptist teens to share their story of how Christ changed their lives through messages by evangelist Clayton King.
“Every story that is represented at YEC matters to God,” King said. “Your life matters to God.
“You don’t have to have a Ph.D. in theology, you just have to tell people how Jesus saves you,” he said. “You don’t have to have a Ph.D. in systematic theology or New Testament hermeneutics, you just have to have a story to say here’s who I was before I met Jesus, here’s how Jesus saved me and here’s how Jesus is changing me now. That’s the power of your story.”
During all four sessions, students were offered a chance to step forward and declare a decision for Christ.
By the end of the two-day spiritual encounter, 719 students had made some type of faith decision: 240 professions of faith, 161 responses to calls to ministry, 296 acts of repentance to restore fellowship with Christ and 22 other commitments. Students will now be connected with a local church for follow-up, and baptism will be encouraged.
In addition to messages by King, participants enjoyed music by the Jason Lovins Band, comedic performances by 321 Improv and prayers led by students around the state. YEC 2021 concluded with a concert by Crowder, an award-winning contemporary Christian artist.
Students and adult leaders also were challenged to share their testimonies with classmates, family members, co-workers and others. During the Monday afternoon session, King’s son, Jacob, explained how this was an effective way to share the Gospel with others.
This was the sixth of a multi-year rotation to equip students with various tools to share Christ. Those who began the training as seventh graders during the 2016 YEC will be familiar with seven different evangelistic tools by the time they are seniors.