ATLANTA (BP)–Southern Baptist missions leaders gave a simultaneous invitation to students attending YouthLink 2000 the morning of Dec. 31 to be on mission with God. Thousands responded with commitments to missions service and vocational ministry.
The Friday morning session at each of YouthLink’s seven sites — Anaheim, Denver, Houston, St. Louis, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Tampa – featured videotaped and live testimonies from missionaries, and short- and long-term missions volunteers, and a message by a representative from both Southern Baptist missions boards. The session concluded with a commitment time at each site.
A total of 9,131 students made decisions saying that they were willing to be a missionary if God called them, and 4,985 said that they felt God was calling them into full-time Christian ministry.
Among the speakers were Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board, and Bob Reccord, president of North American Mission Board. The two mission boards were among the sponsors of YouthLink 2000.
Challenging his listeners to take up the mantle of leadership, Rankin told students in St. Louis, “The millennial generation is the one God has given the privilege of possibly completing the task of reaching the world for Christ.”
Referring to testimonies given earlier in the session by a short-term volunteer, a Journeyman, and a career couple, Rankin asked participants, “Will you go on that missions trip or serve as a Journeyman or give your life to reach the lost world?” Journeyman is a two-year missions opportunity for college graduates sponsored by the International Mission Board.
“All God is asking from you is availability,” he said. “Will you be a part of his will for reaching the lost world?”
In Atlanta, Reccord also challenged his listeners to be ambassadors for Christ.
Citing a good economy and other evidences that “everything is going well” in the US, Reccord said, “But at the same point this nation is fighting for its very soul. We have determined that position, economy and prominence are more important than biblical truth.
“My generation hasn’t given you a healthy nation to walk into,” he acknowledged, but “God is calling you to go into the United States and make a difference.”
Using Jeremiah as his biblical example, Reccord called on the youth to grow strong in their faith, be committed to God’s mission and be compelled to fulfill God’s mandate.
“My prayer is that God will not only raise up vocational ministers, but also legislators and Hollywood actors – people to be Christian in those places.”
Lonnie Wilkey and Jennifer Rash contributed to this report.
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