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BeachReach transforms their spring break

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (BP)–Some students who went to the beach expecting an unholy party during spring break returned home as new followers of Christ.

Thanks to LifeWay’s BeachReach ministry, encompassing nearly 700 student participants who, among other things, provided 9,500 van rides and cooked 9,000-plus pancakes.

BeachReach is purposely designed to offer collegians on spring break two things they aren’t likely to refuse: safe rides and free food, said Angel Ellis, an event project coordinator in the student events area of LifeWay Christian Resources.

As BeachReach participants work to meet those needs, they also seek to meet the vacationers’ spiritual needs with constant prayer and active evangelism.

A key aspect of BeachReach is the prayer room that operates at the headquarters during the evening ministry, Ellis said in an interview with Inside LifeWay, the official news podcast of LifeWay.

“That’s one of the cool things about the ministry. Students not only learn how to pray, they probably pray more in that week than they’ve ever prayed in their life,” Ellis said.

“They actually see the efforts of their prayer because a lot of times, people they’ve prayed for by name come to know Jesus as their personal Savior.”

BeachReach only occurs during three weeks at the height of the spring break season, but Ellis said the ministry helps train students for “unapologetic evangelism” throughout the year.

“It’s very transferable to their ministry back home,” she said, explaining that BeachReach participants often return to their campuses and carry out modified versions of the ministry during various events at their schools.

“The tools that we share with the students and leaders at BeachReach help equip them really just to go back and continue the ministry on their campuses or in their churches,” Ellis said.

“The cool thing about BeachReach is it’s really a week in the normal Christian life,” Ellis reflected. “… It’s not another event that students come and get hyped up about. It’s an opportunity where students really see their role to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Ellis explained that an intricate system governs the process for providing van rides to thousands of vacationers during the three sessions of BeachReach. The van rides help ensure that vacationers travel around town safely and that BeachReach participants have an opportunity to begin building a rapport with the vacationers they came to reach.

“I’ve never seen the depravity of mankind like I do when I’m down there,” Ellis commented during the podcast. “For students who have never been exposed to that, we do help them process that and really just remind them that even though the enemy seems to be at work, that we have the power through Jesus Christ to combat the enemy.”
The complete Inside LifeWay podcast is available for download at www.lifeway.com/insidelifeway. For more information about BeachReach, visit www.lifeway.com/fuge and click on BeachReach.

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  • Brooklyn Noel