News Articles

Jaci Velasquez tells Acteens each has place in God’s plan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Any convention with 11,000 teenage girls wouldn’t be complete without quality music. Participants in the 1998 National Acteens Convention heard just that from some of Christian music’s top performers.
Highlighting the convention’s music was Jaci Velasquez, an 18-year-old Myrrh Records recording artist who’s one of the hottest vocalists in the country. Her song, “On My Knees,” won a Dove Award for 1997’s Song of the Year. A number of her songs have hit the top slot on music charts, such as “If This World,” “Flower in the Rain” and “God So Loved.”
Velasquez said she appreciated the opportunity to minister to such a large group of her peers. Her primary message to convention-goers was that each of them has a special place in God’s creation, and that God can work through them even though they will often fail him. “He’s forgiven you. He’s still going to use you,” Velasquez said. “I mess up and do stupid stuff all the time.”
She said she sees friendship problems as one of the biggest issues teenage girls face today. Girls often struggle with being accepted by their friends, even when they have conflicting opinions. Her solution? “Seek God more and let him become your best friend,” she said.
Alicia Williamson Garcia, a recording artist and worship leader from Mobile, Ala., led worship during each general session of the convention. Formerly with the popular Christian group Truth, Garcia now ministers at numerous women’s events, including the Women of Faith conferences.
Her mission is “bringing true worship to God’s people,” she said. “Worship is a response to truth. … I want to pour into them truth — not my opinion, but truth from God’s Word — and give them the opportunity to respond.”
One of Garcia’s primary messages to Acteens was to give them a sense of individuality. “They don’t have to be what the world says they ought to be,” she said. “All we have to be is what God created us to be.”
She also said that shouldn’t frighten people away from God’s service. “Everything God gives them to do, he equips them to do,” Garcia said. “All they have to do is abandon themselves to him.”
Jamie Smith, a worship leader from Chickasha, Okla., led worship at one general session and in some of the smaller conferences. “I think that girls are really plagued with looking around and comparing themselves,” Smith said.
But every teenage girl has her own gifts that God wants them to use in their own way. “They’re just as important as the gifts God gave to Alicia or Jaci or myself,” Smith said. “God’s call for their life is just as important as God’s call for Billy Graham or Sandi Patty.”
Other musicians during the four-day event were MissionsLive! and the Zambian Acapella Choir.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

    Read All by Tim Ellsworth ›