PHOENIX (BP)–More than 850 students gathered to “Connect with God” at the Phoenix Symphony Hall June 17 during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Evangelist Thomas Young from Dallas delivered an evangelistic charge in cooperation with the North American Mission Board student ministries, Youth Evangelism Conference of Arizona and Frontliners youth evangelism ministry.
Young also introduced a new evangelism initiative geared toward connecting Christians with those who do not know Christ.
The four-fold personal evangelism strategy — connecting with God, then connecting with a friend, connecting that friend with God and finally connecting that friend to a local church — was launched for students who can build on the concept through an interactive website: www.ConnectWithGod.com.
Young said the strategy will work for the students only when they allow the Holy Spirit to take control of their lives.
Delivering a message from Acts 2, Young encouraged the students to go back to the ways of the early church of Acts.
“We’re gonna’ look at what happened when the church started because we’ve gone a long way back from where the church started,” he said. “We’ve got to go back.”
Young underscored four things God did in the early church that he believes God wants to continue in today’s church. He said:
— students need to be indoctrinated in the Word of God. Referring to Acts 2:42, Young said the early church was immersed in the Word of God daily, and he encouraged the students to do likewise. “You gotta’ know what you believe,” he said. “Many of you have never been indoctrinated in the basic tenets of God.”
— students need to be intoxicated with God. “You should be intoxicated not with anything but the presence of God,” Young said. “When you get alone with God, you will naturally be intoxicated with Him. … When you are one who is indoctrinated and intoxicated, you sense God and have an awareness of God.”
— students need to become intimate with God. Young said the early church had “that vertical thing going on, and if anyone had a need, people just gave to meet that need.”
— the church of Acts was influential. “They didn’t go to a church growth conference, they just met with God,” Young said of how the church of Acts grew day by day. “Don’t go back to your church and be the same. … Quit beating up people in your society and start loving them.”
Young asked the students how many of them would like to make a difference in their communities. With hundreds of hands raised across the auditorium, Young challenged them to “take that X-box and sell it and give the money to the woman who needs the money to fix her roof.”
Charging the youth not just to go to church but “become intimate with God because the world is waiting for this [message] to be real,” Young invited the students to make a commitment to Christ. Fifteen responded.
The Pierce Band provided musical praise and celebration for the conference.