Transformed in Kansas City
National Youth Conference | July 17-20 | Kansas City, Missouri
More than 3,000 students, parents, and leaders registered for the 2016 National Youth Conference (NYC) when it returned to Kansas City in 2016. Students spent the week exploring the transforming power of God’s Word.
Ryan Akers, pastor to students and families at Calvary Fellowship Church (MO) spoke Sunday morning, challenging students to truly sacrifice their all and to give everything to Jesus. Sunday evening, Aaron Pontious, student pastor at The Donelson Fellowship (TN), challenged students to live out their faith and to filter everything through a biblical worldview. Youth culture specialists Axis motivated students on Monday night to “distinguish” their worldview. Finally, on Tuesday night, Allen Pointer, pastor of Cofer’s Chapel (TN), ended the week by reminding students to present their bodies as living sacrifices, and to embrace their identity in Christ.
The 2016 conference wasn’t only for teenagers. Katie Greenwood led 92 of the youngest Free Will Baptists in crafts, games, and Bible lessons each night. Johnny Miller helped 233 children in grades 1-3 move from “The Dark Side to the Right Side” and also coordinated the children’s choir that kicked off the awards program on Wednesday night. Down the hall at Highway 456, Steve Greenwood and Josh Wooten led an energetic worship time for 291 tweeners (4-6 grade) each night.
NYC debuted Kids Corner this year with great success. The indoor playground and activity center gave children an opportunity to expend a little energy and allowed parents to take in many of the seminars available to attendees. Johnny Miller and his staff managed the fun activities for children on Monday and Tuesday.
Jane Parker organized the Reach That Guy outreach program, where 311 volunteers spent over 1,300 hours accomplishing 17 projects throughout Kansas City and sharing 21 units of blood during the Wednesday blood drive. Attendees were asked to give back by creating “care bags” designed to leave needed resources in the hands of the homeless population of Kansas City. Throughout the week, Reach That Guy distributed 70 bags to those who needed them.
Attendees also gave back through the Tuesday evening Buck-A-Week offering. In addition to money given throughout the year, students gave more than $5,000 to benefit Free Will Baptist missionary efforts. Coin banks and online giving options are available at verticalthree.com for those who wish to support the Buck-A-Week initiative in the coming year.
During the GPS (Global Purpose Seekers) Experience, 300 people made their way through seven booths to meet and talk to missionaries about God’s call to take the gospel to unreached people. This experience gave students a global missions encounter where they learned about God’s desire for the nations and what Free Will Baptists are doing to spread that message.
The ENGAGE Leadership Network Seminar Series continues to be a vital addition to NYC. With more than 80 sessions covering topics from biblical church growth to cultural engagement, there was something for every participant. Students and parents alike took advantage of these sessions made possible by the partnership between Randall House and International Missions, North American Ministries, WNAC, and Welch College. On Monday night, ENGAGE hosted a panel discussion to address the topic “God and Country: The Christian and Politics.”
Truth & Peace 2016 was a year of firsts! The conference accepted its largest number, with 130 students attending from 20 states, Spain, and Canada. Twenty teams were named after a country where Free Will Baptists minister. During the conference, these students were given opportunities to practice servant leadership. It is no exaggeration to say the NYC is staffed—in large part—by the high school student leaders of Truth & Peace. Under the leadership of Allen Pointer, the conference culminated at the National Youth Conference and five intense days of setup, teardown, growth, and service. Any student in grades 9-12 may apply to Truth & Peace. Applications can be found online: VerticalThree.com
Another student-led group, the Youth Evangelistic Team (YET, pictured above with Neil Gilliland) did a phenomenal job leading NYC worship. The group traveled almost 2,000 miles during the summer, conducting eight services in five states, and completing four service projects. Jeremy and Beth Thomas did an outstanding job guiding the tour and assisting the group in leading worship for the NYC. Plans were announced for the 2017 team to travel to the Southeast.
On Wednesday evening, Russell Thomas (Greenwood, AR) was awarded Youth Worker of the Year; Mineral Springs FWB Church Youth (Muldrow, OK) was named Group of the Year; and Avery Jones from Rejoice Church (Owasso, OK) received Youth of the Year. In addition, NYC presented Allen Pointer the Jim Lauthern Legacy Award for exemplary service and long-term dedication to Free Will Baptist students.
Brandon Roysden, director of events at Randall House, announced the re-naming of NYC (National Youth Conference) to Vertical Three Conference. The intent is to focus on equipping students to stand for their faith while providing an intentional student conference experience for all Free Will Baptist youth groups.
If you missed NYC 2016, make plans now to attend the 2017 Vertical Three Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, July 18-21. Next year’s meeting will challenge students to “Be Bold” from 2 Corinthians 3:12. Don’t miss it!
Truth & Peace: 130 participants from 21 states and 2 foreign countries.
Competitive Entries: 950
Reach That Guy
17 service projects
Buck A Week Offering: $5,638.75
Responses every night
New 360 Give curriculum released
Over 300 attended GPS
(Global Purpose Seekers)
2017 YET Team
Gabe Knight (AL)
Mason McClintock (GA)
Leah Williams (NY)
Brynn Jones (OK)
Anna Pinson (TN)
Abby Myers (MI)
Raygan Sellars (TN)
Josh Hunt (MO)
Layla England (KY)
Nate Mattingley (KY)
Meredith Baer (NC)
Grace Rohroff (MI)
Jacob Houske (TN)