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Ski Xplosion to combine spiritual depth, snowy slopes & a bit of glitz & glamour

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–The snowy slopes above Santa Fe, N.M., may not seem to be a likely location for a glitzy New Year’s Eve party, but last January LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center hosted a gala celebration, complete with concerts and performers to ring in 2003.

A repeat is only months away.

Held at Glorieta’s newly remodeled Chuck Wagon Snack Bar, the New Year’s Eve party was all part of Ski Xplosion, a unique youth ministry idea that combines the slippery speed of Santa Fe’s ski slopes, innovative worship and in-depth biblical instruction.

Now more than five years old, Ski Xplosion — a youth event designed to appeal to a teen’s sense of adventure and the Christian’s desire for discipleship and evangelism — is growing in popularity. Ski Xplosion is sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

About 200 youth and adults participated in last year’s New Year’s Eve ski celebration. Coordinator Clyde Hall said he expects many more to brave the winter weather for two year-end Ski Xplosion dates scheduled for Glorieta beginning Dec. 27 followed by two others later in the 2003-04 season.

“It has really been fun,” Hall said, discussing the event. “Our goal is to provide a prepackaged program to youth ministers and youth leaders to bring a group, and they don’t have to worry about planning the program. We’re encouraged because some of the sponsors and the youth tell us that this is a spiritual experience, as well as a recreational experience.”

Jason Glenn, student minister at First Baptist Church in Marion, Ark., who attended last year’s Ski Xplosion with his youth group, said, “Glorieta is a beautiful place. Every member of our group was happy and blessed. The worship services were the highlight of our days. Our students enjoyed starting the day off with worship before skiing. This was the best trip — skiing or otherwise — we have been on since I have been at FBC, Marion. My students are still talking about Jim Shaddix and his sermon, ‘The Sound of Grace.'”

“These events have really grown,” Hall said, speaking about Ski Xplosions’ attendance growth, “from about 25 people five years ago when we started to 1,000 this past year.” He said he expects many to return this year and bring a friend.

But the number of youth who attend isn’t the most important aspect, Hall and other Ski Xplosion organizers said. Instead, they’d rather focus on the spiritual emphasis of the event. More than 61 youth made spiritual decisions during last year’s New Year’s Eve Ski Xplosion event, for example.

This year’s theme is designed to remind youth and youth leaders alike of the importance of God’s teachings. With a theme of “home improvement,” students will study the Bible in order to find ways to “repair the temple” of their lives and become pleasing to God.

Brent Gambrell, president of Creative Images Group in Nashville, Tenn., will return to speak at Ski Xplosion this year, as well as Allen Jackson, associate professor of youth education at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Russell and Kristi Johnson, Christian recording artists from Conway, S.C., will lead the worship. Owen Robertson, professor of theater arts at North Greenville (S.C.) College, also will participate, using drama and humor, complete with character masks, to reinforce Christ’s teachings.

Shane Funkhouser, youth minister at First Baptist Church in Hobart, Okla., wrote to Hall, saying, “We had a blast! Thanks! The conference is always great. I have had the opportunity to hear both Allen and Brent. Enjoyed them both and look forward to next year. Probably will return over Christmas. Also enjoyed the drama this year. Adds a little more to the message.”
Ski Xplosion 2003-04 events are scheduled for Dec. 27-30, 2003; Dec. 29, 2003-Jan. 1, 2004; March 9-12, 2004; and March 13-16, 2004. For more information about rates or to register, visit www.lifeway.com/skixplosion and click on the events tab or call Glorieta at 1-800-797-4222. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SKI XPLOSION 2002.

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  • Mandy Crow