Published Feb 01, 2017
ONTARIO — Nearly 1,400 students and leaders were challenged to share the “Unstoppable” gospel as a daily part of their lives during the Ignition Student Conference, Dec. 28-30 at the Ontario Convention Center.
Throughout the conference students were encouraged to share their “story” to introduce others to Jesus. Video and live testimonies were presented to illustrate how Unstoppable the gospel is in changing lives. One of those testimonies featured Megan, a member of Grace Fellowship Church in Norco, who told how she became a Christian after attending Ignition a few years ago.
Megan said her family doesn’t believe in Jesus and explained that her life was “good, with nothing to complain about.”
Although things were okay, Megan felt “something was missing.” After hearing one of the Ignition speakers she concluded that Jesus was missing from her life.
“I realized that the speakers’ presentation of the gospel was ‘true’ and that’s when I gave my life to Jesus,” Megan recounted.
Ignition coordinator Sherann Kim, California Southern Baptist Convention student ministry and evangelism specialist, said this year’s Unstoppable theme was chosen to “help students understand they serve an unstoppable God and can become unstoppable in sharing the gospel message with schoolmates, friends, family and anyone around them.”
The intense, three-day student event incorporates speakers, concerts, activities, church group Bible studies, ministry projects and more to “encourage and equip students to know the gospel, be trained in discipleship and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” according to Kim.
One of this year’s speakers, Clayton King, founder and president of Crossroads Ministry in South Carolina, told the students he believes everything in life is “stoppable.”
“Is there anything eternal or is everything temporal?” he asked rhetorically.
The only unstoppable thing is found in Revelation 12, King said, where good triumphs over evil because of the blood of the Lamb and the word of believers’ testimony.
King noted that the way to help others overcome “is through our testimony. We’ve all got a story. Nothing can stop or shut down a good story.”
He encouraged students to let Jesus come into their lives and change their story.
“None of us is unstoppable … but the story of Jesus and what He does in each of our lives is unstoppable.”
Later in the conference, King’s wife, Sharie, shared about being abused by her stepfather. She said that no matter what has happened, “we don’t have to be ashamed. God can give you a better story to bring glory to Him.”
Every person’s story is powerful, Sharie told the audience, and can bring about change. She referred to the biblical account of the Samaritan woman at the well and how her testimony changed an entire town.
Clayton King said he and his wife’s stories (testimonies) are “tools we use to open up to audiences,” and encouraged students to use their stories as tools for the same purpose.
Although each person’s story is important, Sean McDowell, an assistant professor of apologetics at Biola University in La Mirada and nationally known speaker, gave students and leaders two tips to help effectively defend the gospel: be strategic in conversations while building genuine relationships with people who have radically different views.
McDowell said the most important aspects of defending the faith are “never compromise the truth” and “live out scriptures in love.”
Better known by his stage name KB, Kevin Burgess is a hip-hop artist from Tampa, FL who not only was featured in concert, but encouraged Ignition participants to be involved in evangelism through telling their story.
“The problem with evangelism,” KB said, “is not that we fear people too much, but that we fear God too little.”
He said it is the Christian’s responsibility to witness because if those around us reject Jesus, there will be a great fall.
Katherine Williams, a youth leader at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Ontario, said for more than a decade their church has made Ignition a priority for the youth no matter where the meeting is held.
She noted the conference is a great opportunity for students to “attend workshops, hear challenging speakers and interact with other students from throughout the state.”
Williams said she was encouraged this year that students were learning how to share their story in order to “bring others out of darkness.”
Just as leaders find worth in the conference, so do students. Ceeanna Rico, a member of Faith in Christ Fellowship in Daly City, said that even though it was her first time to attend Ignition she found it rewarding.
She noted the breakout sessions, WIRED — Managing Your Social Network and En Garde, dealing with one’s belief system, “were my favorite things” because they helped her personally in her faith journey.
Other breakouts included Identity/Image, Jesus 101 and A Biblical Approach to the LGBTQ Issue. Classes for student leaders included Helping Students With Fear and Anxiety and Help! I’m a Volunteer Youth Worker.
Rico added that KB also was a highlight for her because “he energized the crowd.” Overall, Rico said the event has caused her to think about her story. “I know my story matters, but I believe it still needs more work.”
The Christian band Stars Go Dim presented a concert, while Ignition favorite Travis Ryan led worship with his band.