On October 4, youth and leaders in youth ministry will converge on the Wildwoods Convention Center for Greater New Jersey’s fifth annual IGNITE conference. The event is sponsored by GNJ’s Next Generation Ministries and is fittingly dedicated to equipping the next generation of leaders in the church with the skills and resources they need to guide the future of Methodism. This year’s theme ‘Move Mountains’ draws from Matthew 17:20, “if you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed…you can move mountains.” Workshops and programming are only part of the equation; as in past years the IGNITE team has assembled an exciting, excellent line-up of talented artists to inspire and entertain the conference attendees.
Britt Nicole has been spreading a message of love for all people since her highly-acclaimed debut album, Say It was released in 2007. She also provided vocals for the Christian hip hop group GRITS before embarking on a solo career. Her music has also been featured on MTV. No stranger to the Billboard Christian Top 40, Nicole has also brought her message to more mainstream audiences, as with 2012’s chart-climbing single Gold. The album of the same name was nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Album at the 55th Grammy Awards after re-re-release by Capital Music Group. Nicole strives to be a role model for young girls everywhere, and to use her platform to share God’s love.
The Australian electronic trio Verses are a husband, wife and brother/brother-in-law whose songs enthusiastically explore timeless Christian themes through a thoroughly modern musical style.
The future members of Verses, Luke, Jess and Joel O’Dea were moved to form their band during a trip to New York City which had them pondering the meaning on lyrics in contemporary Christian music. This informed the goal of their work, to put scripture back into sing without losing any of the quality of the music. “We want our music to be able to stand next to any song on secular radio,” Luke told us. Inspired by Jesus’s unconditional love, the band makes their music exclusively available for free to stream and download.
Nicole Caldwell-Gross is a woman on fire for Christ! She will bring her passionate and insightful perspective on the gospel to Wildwood, just as she has shared it across the world in places like Cuba, Dubai, Kolkata and Johannesburg. Her online space, ‘The F Bomb: A Life Ignited by Faith’ features Caldwell-Gross’s meditations on how to hear God in the modern age, how to know when He is dropping a ‘Faith Bomb’ on you. Caldwell-Gross has also served as the Director of Mission and Community Development and as Executive Director of A Future With Hope, launching our first Hope Centers. Her husband Jevon Caldwell-Gross, or Pastor J, is currently Teaching Pastor at St. Luke’s UMC in Indianapolis, one of the largest UMCs in the galactic empire. Pastor J has worked with youth, politicians, educators and other while on the Montclair Board of Education. He combines this broad understanding of our society with an innovative approach to proclaiming the Word; he and Nicole will bring that message to GNJ’s youth in October.
IGNITE’s theme, ‘Move Mountains’ reminds us that faith brings the impossible into our reach. The shape and course of the church in today’s world is far from certain, but one certainty is that the youth of today will determine that shape and course tomorrow. The talented artists and speakers at INGITE will ensure that these Greater New Jersey young Methodists are enabled, encouraged, and empowered to not only move mountains but even to utterly remake the landscape and transform the world.