1st of 2 GO Georgia events this weekend, walk-ups welcome

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Mark Croston preaching from a stage.
Mark Croston, national director for Black and Western Church Partnerships of LifeWay Christian Resources, speaks at Christ Fellowship Church in Miami. He will be Friday night’s general session speaker at GO Georgia for Aug. 16-17 in Jonesboro and Aug. 23-24 in Statesboro. MARK CROSTON/Special

JONESBORO — Although registration has passed for GO Georgia to be held Aug. 16-17 at First Baptist Church, the annual training event is still available to church leaders and laypeople looking to sharpen their ministry skills.  

“Walk-ups are welcome,” said Tim Smith, lead state missionary for Sunday School, Groups, and Faith Development. “The rate for those attending both days will be $55 while the single-day rate will be $40.” 

More than 100 breakout sessions and three general sessions await attendees in Jonesboro as well as Aug. 23-24 at First Baptist Statesboro. The wide variety of breakout sessions include discipleship, social issues, evangelism, stewardship, student ministry, and technology.  

Mark Croston, national director for Black and Western Church Partnerships of LifeWay Christian Resources, will be the first general session speaker at both events. With “Storytellers” being the GO Georgia theme, Croston’s session is titled “HIS Story.” 

“I’m going to talk about Jesus and his powerful story, the story that changes lives,” Croston said. “His story is what we need to tell if we’re going to impact our world.” 

Christians can do that through intentionally making Christ a bigger part of their lives, he added. 

“We’re to lift Jesus up in our conversations, at our schools, at work, in our attitudes with others. Sometimes we may look for the power to change things through ways other than the gospel. But Jesus said in John 3 that just as Moses lifted up the image of the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up. If we lift Him up, people will be drawn to Him. He’ll transform lives.”  

Dew, Skipper other general sessions speakers

General session speakers joining Croston are Jamie Dew, president at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Levi Skipper, Evangelism catalyst for Georgia Baptists.  

Dew will speak Saturday morning about “MY Story” while Skipper will take the stage that afternoon with the topic of “OUR Story.” 

Croston said Christians need to be more proactive toward engaging the culture.  

“I constantly encourage people to be more active on social media,” he explained as an example. “When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden, they were to subdue the earth. I take that to mean everything is under the authority of God.” 

In cases such as social media, he noted, removing Christian influence would not bring a positive effect.  

“If you don’t subdue that garden, the weeds will take over. Social media it like that. It’s a place where we have the opportunity to interject the gospel and fight back against satanic forces looking to influence people.” 

GO Georgia is scheduled to begin Friday at First Baptist Jonesboro with registration and vendor exhibits open at 1 p.m. Welcome, prayer, and announcements will take place at 2:30 before a break and the first breakout sessions slated to start at 3:15.  

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