Students across Illinois are seeking to live for Jesus each day, said John Howard, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Marion. Youth Encounter, IBSA’s annual one-day student event, is a reminder that they’re not taking the journey alone.
Howard organized the last of three Youth Encounter sites for 2019 at First Baptist Church in O’Fallon on Nov. 10. Earlier events were Oct. 13 in Decatur and Marion.
“Our approach to YE Metro East was to connect with every kind of student attending,” Howard said. Guest speaker Chad Poe preached a clear gospel message tailored to unbelievers, he said, and also challenged Christians to walk more faithfully with Jesus.
“His messages were powerful and engaging,” said Mike Brockmeier, minister of youth at Calvary Baptist Church in Edwardsville. Brockmeier recounted some encouraging quotes that stuck with him. “We are not just saved from something…we are saved for something! We are sent to tell the world!”
Poe, an evangelist and pastor based in Texas, also told students: “Jesus doesn’t just give us what we need. He is who we need.”
In O’Fallon, comedian Jonnie W and worship leader Sean Curran of Passion also entertained and encouraged students. “The songs we sang were gospel-centered and God-honoring,” Brockmeier said, “and Sean and his team led us with passion and authenticity.”
Howard said Youth Encounter is a prime opportunity for students from many churches to be reminded they’re not alone in seeking to honor Jesus in their everyday lives. “There are students all over our state seeking to do the same.”
Youth Encounter 2020 is scheduled for Oct. 11 in Marion and Decatur, and Nov. 8 in O’Fallon.