NASHVILLE (BP) – Since the New Year, Shane Pruitt has preached the Gospel message to thousands of students as the headlining speaker during the 2022 Winter Jam tour.
Pruitt, national Next Gen director for the North American Mission Board, said more than 26,000 students have texted saying that they made a decision to follow Christ thus far during the tour, which holds its last stop Sunday (March 27). The 2022 tour is the first full-length tour for Winter Jam since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“The people are there because they want to be there,” Pruitt said. “I feel that there is every excuse in the world not to come to something like this, so if you’re here then you want to be or you are looking for hope and answers.
“I think the last two years have definitely proven the world is broken, so people are looking for hope and answers. We want to tell them hope has a name, and it’s the name above all names, Jesus Christ.”
Pruitt spoke during the January and March shows on the tour, as he was out of the country during February for the adoption of his family’s new son. He explained he has two designated speaking slots during each show.
During the first one, he spends time challenging students with NAMB’s Who’s Your One? evangelism initiative. He implores the students and leaders to find one lost person they can be praying for and sharing the Gospel with. NAMB serves as one of the sponsors of this year’s tour.
In his second time slot in the middle of the show, Pruitt gives what he describes as the “pure Gospel” message. After briefly showing a way in which Jesus is portrayed throughout each book of the Bible, he offers an invitation to follow Jesus.
“You always will feel like something is missing as long as Someone is missing, and that Someone is Jesus,” Pruitt tells the crowd of students.
Started in the 1990s by contemporary Christian band NewSong, the “Winter Jam Tour Spectacular” is an annual traveling concert event that invites young Christians to hear a variety of Christians speakers and musical artists for the price of a $10 ticket.
This year’s musical artists include K.B., Colton Dixon, Tauren Wells and Skillet.
Pruitt told Baptist Press Winter Jam is not only a great opportunity to minister to students, but to youth leaders as well.
During the night’s pre-show ceremonies, Pruitt and other tour leaders invite the youth leaders in attendance to gather for a short time of encouragement and prayer.
“That has become one of my favorite times to get to spend some time with all these youth leaders,” Pruitt said. “One of the biggest pieces of Winter Jam is those youth leaders who are actually taking the time to invite the students, so we just want to encourage them and reward them for that. That’s our heartbeat at NAMB because our target is really those leaders who are influencing the next generation.”
Pruitt shares a word of encouragement with the leaders and lets them know about resources that are available through NAMB’s NextGen ministries. Then the group prays for the upcoming Gospel presentation.
“I believe a reason we’ve seen so many decisions always starts with this time at the very beginning with a couple hundred youth leaders literally on our knees in prayer,” he said.
Pruitt said this is a crucial time for youth ministry.
“I think it’s a great opportunity right now, and I think I’ve seen more young people get saved in the last two years than I have in 15 years of ministry combined,” he said.
“I think because of the internet students are realizing at an earlier age that the world is broken and something is wrong with them. I think they are searching for something and they don’t know what it is yet. They know that something is missing, and we know there is only one thing that can satisfy them.”