IBSA’s annual youth conference needs to reach some distinct audiences, said Jimmy Hammond. Youth Encounter, held in two of its three locations this month, is designed for students who know Christ and those who don’t, for teens in the church and out of it.
At Tabernacle Baptist Church in Decatur, speaker Josh Griffin (pictured on page 1) called teens to take their next step with Jesus, whatever it might be.
“For some, that’s accepting him as Savior,” said Hammond, family pastor at Living Faith Baptist Church in Sherman and IBSA’s student ministry consultant. “For others, it’s a deeper commitment to Christ, or maybe having the courage to respond to something God is calling them to do.”
Youth Encounter is in three locations this fall: Decatur and Marion, both on Oct. 13, and First Baptist Church in O’Fallon on Nov. 10. Each site includes a featured speaker, worship leader, and comedian or improv troupe. Local leaders plan the program at each location.
Angie Alcantara is a youth ministry volunteer at Liberty Baptist Church in Pekin. Her church sent 24 students to Decatur, including some who don’t yet know Christ. One young woman, a Christian who attends another church, traveled with Liberty’s group to the conference. “I remember her saying, ‘I needed this,’” Alcantara said, recounting how she’d watched a group of girls, plus the guest, pray together at the front of the auditorium.
Alcantara, who attended Youth Encounter when she was a student, said every teen in their large group enjoyed the conference. “On the way home, everyone said, ‘This was awesome.’”
Some teens brand-new to the group aren’t believers yet, Alcantara said. Their estimation of Youth Encounter 2019: “We can’t wait for the next thing.”
The Nov. 10 event will include speaker Chad Poe, worship leader Sean Curran, and comedian Jonnie W. To register, go to IBSA.org/YE2019.