ALAMEDA – CSBC’s Ignition (NorCal) Student Conference was a resounding success, with rave reviews coming in from 5 students and one leader. The conference, hosted by Gracepoint Church in Alameda, was organized by RJ McCauley, in partnership with SLU’s Lift Tour, and featured a number of dynamic speakers and workshops.
The students who attended the conference had a lot to say about their time at Ignition. “My overall experience at NorCal Ignition from CSBC was life-changing,” said student Dominic, “I walked into this trip feeling that it was just going to be a time where I would be able to fellowship with my friends … when in reality, it was way more than that.” Malik, another student, commented, ” The NorCal Ignition event was a weekend to remember, …one that I will never forget. … I didn’t know what to expect going to Ignition, although being reassured that I would love it… I did.”
The interactive preaching style in the main sessions proved especially impactful for many of the students. Jasmine noted, “I really enjoyed listening to the speakers especially for our sessions. They were funny and inspiring and kept me focused. On the first day I didn’t take notes,” she continued, “I was just filling out the handout, but the next day I took pages and pages of notes. The points they were making were very important,” Another student named Davin, said, “During my time at Ignition I learned a lot about Jesus. I tried my best to stay engaged in the sermon. It was not that hard because the speakers were very interesting and energetic. They even had us interact with them.”
The youth leader from North Hills Church who attended the conference was also very impressed. “The North Hills Fusion Youth Group had such an amazing weekend at the 2023 Ignition Student Conference powered by the Lift Tour. As a youth leader, I was overcome with joy knowing that the leaders at the CSBC have been hard at work in developing a strategy to reach the youth of Northern California. God’s hand was truly at work as He called out to the hearts of many young people that were gathered at the event.”
The programming at Ignition extended far beyond sermons in the main sessions. Students experienced worship, breakout sessions, games, snacks, and giveaways (such as pens and notebooks) to help attendees fully engage in the event. A student named Alex shared, “It was nice that there were games outside of the building like spike ball, basketball, and even a volleyball net. The games gave us a nice break and allowed us to fellowship with people from different places in a more relaxed way. Through the music, worship, and fellowship, I have memories that I will carry with me for a long time.”
Davin was affected by the worship experience. “Worship was awesome. I enjoyed the music a lot. The team was amazing. They had cool people come and sing.”
Malik recounted the worship as an experience that helped motivate him in his decision to accept Christ as his Savior during ignition. “The first night being there, was started by a DJ and worship team that brought everyone’s spirits up so high as the whole building stood up in worship. Near the end, we had a prayer where I felt like the speaker was talking directly to me, that night they showed me the path to God so that I could fully give myself and devote my life to Christ. I made my decision that night along with others in front of everyone in that building, and although being nervous with all eyes on me, I was awarded so much applause and cheerful support from everyone. I was able to make my decision that night to make my life as a Christian and not wait for a decision, and I am so thankful for it.”
Meanwhile, Dominic praised the Lord for leading his friends to a saving faith; friends he assumed were already believers and is encourage others to make the same decision. “There were three of my friends who changed that day, wanting to devote their lives to Christ, and I was shocked because I thought I had known them and automatically assumed that they had given their life to Christ before, but this just goes to show how amazing God works in our lives. I will be forever grateful that this meeting changed their lives, and I would ask other people to do the same as well.”
Overall, the Ignition Youth Conference was a marked success. The students and leaders who attended the event came away with a renewed sense of purpose and a better understanding of themselves and the world around them.
“This overall experience of Norcal Ignition is phenomenal, and I highly recommend that people from all over the world will gather and come to fellowship in the house of the Lord.” (Dominic)
“My experience from this year’s Ignition is making me excited for the next one.” (Jasmine)
“The experience was like nothing I had ever witnessed. I would totally go again.” (Davin)
Perhaps the best review came from Malik, who, after committing his life to Christ, said, “Overall, the event was so great for me to be able to attend and experience and, along with my saving, I know there were many others with me that night who were also saved. The NorCal ignition was such a blessing for Northern California, and it brought a weekend that I will always remember. I hope to spread the Word and this event to many youths so that they can all experience what I have.”
According to RJ McCauley, Youth Champion for CSBC and youth Leader at Magnolia church in Riverside, 37 students made first-time professions of faith, 40 recommitted their lives to Christ, and 87 students responded to a call into full-time Ministry. All told, approximately 700 students and student leaders were in attendance at Ignition, with an additional 130 watching online.
If you want to get involved or learn more about Ignition SoCal, you can contact RJ McCauley directly at email@example.com
*A special thank you to students Alex, Davin, Dominic, Jasmine, and Malik, who contributed to this recap, and to Mark Banda, North Hills Church Minister of Student Life.
Sarah Graham earned her bachelor's degree from Azusa Pacific University and a Master's in Leadership and Business Management from California Baptist University. She currently serves CSBC as the Director of Communications. Sarah is a mother of two grown children, Kirsten (25) and Daniel (21) and she serves as a member of the worship team at Clovis Hills Community Church.
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