During Saturday night’s altar call at IGNITE, I stood at the stage with a young lady’s hands in mine, giving thanks for her commitment to Christ, and I remembered. I remembered that it was at a youth ministry conference when I was 16 years-old that I first heard the invitation to accept Jesus as my Lord and I thought, “Is this really for me?” I remember as the music became louder, I felt the pull of the Spirit and my feet began walking. Near the stage I was lead in a prayer, of professing Jesus as my Savior and wanting to serve him all my days.
For me this this experience was not transformative; but it was formative. Truth be told, by that point I already loved Jesus. I served Jesus. I even felt called to be a pastor. Yet, that invitation provided me, and hundreds of other young people, the unique opportunity to make a public, personal decision to follow Jesus. It was a moment I will never ever forget.
I celebrate the hundreds of youth who committed their lives to Christ at IGNITE. For some it was a reaffirmation of faith. For others it was a pivotal moment to begin to understand the love of God. For all, it was a milestone in their faith journey that has the potential to shape the rest of their life.
This past weekend, while praying with our young people and hearing their stories, I was reminded that IGNITE is not an event but a movement.
Whether you brought a group to IGNITE this year or you plan to next year, you have the opportunity to share the story. At your next small group gathering consider the following conversation starters.
- How can we tell our story of IGNITE? Share the highlights of the weekend, even if you did not attend. There are endless ways: Facebook videos, live stream videos, Instagram photos, a ministry moment in worship, the church newsletter or blog, a worship slide show and more.
- How did IGNITE help us grow closer to each other, others and God? Don’t head back to the next youth or young adult meeting without asking this question. IGNITE is a catalyst for growing deeper in faith. If you didn’t attend IGNITE, take a look at the media of the event and talk about next year.
- Has IGNITE sparked in you a call to serve the church? While every way we serve God is special, there just may be the next pastor, missionary, or youth worker right in your very small group. Click here for UMC resources on a exploring a call to ministry.
- Who can we invite to IGNITE 2018? The spirit of IGNITE is contagious! Begin visioning for IGNITE 2018 now!
Leaders, you have an influential role in your church as you help others see that faith is not simply an experience, but a journey. Faith is comprised of more than a one-time decision to commit one’s life to Christ. Faith asks us to commit daily to live for Christ and others. May IGNITE help you cast a vision of the journey of faith for the next generation of leaders.