Georgia students filled the Macon Coliseum Dec. 27-28 for the MOVE Conference. THOMAS HAMMOND/Special
MACON – Over 3,200 students, chaperones, and volunteers wrapped up the Christmas season together with worship, fellowship, and Gospel-centered preaching at the Macon Coliseum Dec. 27-28, with more than 300 decisions for Christ recorded at the MOVE Conference.
According to the website, MOVE is the “largest winter evangelism conference for teenagers in Georgia.” It is sponsored by the Student Groups and Faith Development office of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
Naeem Fazel, founding pastor of Mosaic Church in Charlotte, N.C., and Clayton King of Clayton King Ministries led the sessions. Entertainment was provided by Christian comedian, mentalist, and illusionist Bryan Drake
The weekend featured music from Bethany Barr Phillips, David Crowder, Riley Clemons, and Micah Tyler. Crowder surprised the 90 volunteers for the conference with an impromptu meet-and-greet.
Impact of MOVE
The impact of MOVE this year is reflected by the appreciation of the leaders for the conference. “Our GBMB Student Discipleship team hits it out of the park. This is what continues to inspire generations across Georgia Baptist and the Southeast!” said Mark Galo, minister with students at First Baptist Statesboro.
“Year after year, FBC Statesboro has discovered a local and spiritually deep Christmas break ministry that delivers impact for students,” he added. “FBC Statesboro students left MOVE19 with two student salvations, deeper friendships, an encouraged growing leadership base, and a 40 Day challenge from the SBC.”
Joli Antoinette Rogers also expressed her gratitude for the conference in comments on Facebook. “My oldest daughter asked Jesus in her heart Friday at MOVE! When I looked up to see her standing all I could do was cry tears of joy.”
‘Fences broken down’ at leadership roundtable
Another feature of the weekend was a youth ministry roundtable on Saturday morning led by Billy Christol, youth/associate pastor at Burning Bush Baptist Church in Ringgold, and Tim Kilgore, pastor of families at Central Baptist in Waycross.
During the roundtable that included 25-30 youth pastors, volunteers, and even one senior pastor, discussion broached several topics including cultural concerns, event strategy, and budgets.
“What is most interesting was the common passion that everyone in the room had,” Christol shared. “At the end of every topic the discussion always moved back to Jesus and how we could grow closer to Him and each other.”
More specifically, “the heart of the discussion was how to we connect students to the churches they are attending,” Kilgore added. “Many of the youth leaders are reaching kids that are only connected to the church for youth activities, but really aren’t connected to the rest of the church activities. So, as we talked we were trying to help them come up with ways that help the church and the student ministry connect.”
This time was so valuable, in Christol’s opinion, because “activities like this are much healthier than simply reading a book or a blog. They speak to the specific joys, needs, and concerns of everyone in the room. With this type of dialog fences are broken down and believers are drawn together in a healthy stable way.”