As a teenager, my parents allowed me to go to as many youth conferences as possible. Let me say here that all my family and I have ever known since we we got saved were independent, fundamental, soul winning, missionary-minded, separated, King James only, Baptist church. So the conferences I went to as a teen accomplished what I believe every youth conference should accomplish.
It was at a youth conference when God led me to attend a Bible college. It was at a youth conference when God callede to preach. These two major decisions in my life were clear catalysts for the way God would work in my life. I can honestly say that if it were not for God using these conferences, I would not be where I am today!
What makes youth conferences effective in moving young people to a decision? Here are a few reasons they made a difference for me.
1. The atmosphere
No one denies the fact that youth conferences are planned and designed to encourage young people to be excited about giving their lives to Christ. The skits, videos, decorations, etc.- they all make teens feel right about serving the Lord.
In addition, as teenagers see their peers following God, they are more likely to act out what God has been leading in their heart to do. Peer pressure now becomes positive rather than negative. Whether as an adult or teen, you’ve got to admit, it’s easier to do right when it exciting and involves more than just you.
2. The activities
What’s wrong with a trip to the theme park? Or a miniature golf activity? Activities at a youth conference oftentimes diffuses a typical belief Satan has fed out teenagers and that is, “Christians can’t have fun without sinning.” What a lie!
We don’t have to sacrifice our testimony and standards to have a great time. There is joy in serving Jesus! Besides, these activities prove that Christian friendship is better than worldly companionship. Activities are great!
3. The accountability
Whenever a teenager is at a youth conference, they will make decisions. It is essential that when these decisions are made that their spiritual counselors are ready to help them discern God’s workings on their heart. They will have questions and as spiritual leaders, we better have answers!
Moreover, the further away they get from the conference, the harder it is to keep their decisions. We must remind them that God does not make mistake and that what He told these teenagers back at the conference is still true today.
4. The admonition
Finally, how can you go wrong when you subject a teenager to intensne preaching for a period of time? Remember that God’s Word will never return void. It pierces, it purges, it purifies, and perfects. Biblical preaching will transform teenagers’ lives!
The effects of a youth conference are eternal. It is better than the skills they may pick up at sports camp. So the next time you have the opportunity to send a teenager to a youth conference, go for it! Then watch God do a work you didn’t even expect.