SACRAMENTO — Having to add 250 chairs was a great problem for Sherann Kim, coordinator of the Ignition Student Conference.
Held annually between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Ignition 2017 drew 1,200 students and leaders to the Sacramento Convention Center Dec. 28-30.
“On paper, registration was totally different than what I was seeing,” Kim said, as students and leaders continued to stream into the first plenary session. “I don’t know where they came from, but praise God they came!”
Kim serves with the California Southern Baptist Convention evangelism and missions initiatives team.
The students enjoyed three days of music, speakers, breakouts, mission projects and free time, while leaders had opportunities for their own breakout sessions.
Kim reported that 42 students made professions of faith in Christ during Ignition, besides those who made decisions during devotional time with their church groups.
Mission projects this year included prayer-walking the area around the convention center, helping a local church prepare and pack food for the needy, and visits to a nearby nursing home.
“Iggy” said his group enjoyed “having conversations” with residents of the nursing home, and helping them with crafts.
“They love to talk!” he said.
Along with late-night free time — complete with inflatable games and friendly competition — breakouts included a wide variety of topics, from an introduction to Disaster Relief ministry to “Media and Identity,” “In Christ I Am” and “The Triple T’s — Time, Treasures and Talents.”
The most popular breakouts, each drawing hundreds of students, were led by Chris Simning, one of the featured Ignition speakers, and Johnnell Williams, director of youth ministries at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Ontario.
Simning told students his “story about self-worth, identity and his decision to be found in Christ,” the program noted. His website explains that “Chris is not a disabled speaker, but one who just so happens to have a disability,” which he uses as a platform to encourage audiences to find their identity in Christ.
In a breakout called, “Beware of the Snakes,” Williams and his daughter, Karie Robinson, shared with their groups about their son/brother’s suicide and “how their faith brought life.”
They gave the students guidance and pointers on how to “navigate through your darkest moments and discover how faith makes you extraordinary.”
Leaders’ breakouts included “Helping Kids Experience God” and “Creating Fun Learning Experiences.”
As with the previous year’s Ignition, 2017 focused on an entire book of the Bible, this time Philippians, with the theme, “Faithful.”
“Are we going to be faithful to our God?” asked DA Horton in one of the main sessions. The pastor of Reach Fellowship in Long Beach was one of the featured speakers for Ignition. “We know He is faithful to us,” Horton declared.
Encouraging the students to be obedient, Horton began the session with a rap about God’s faithfulness, based on the book of Hosea.
He told the students that obedience is “the literal reality of what it means to walk with our God,” who sent Jesus and provided scripture “so you would know” what He asks of us. Horton exhorted the students from God’s perspective to be obedient “when I’m with you and when I’m not with you as well.”
“I’ve been walking with Jesus for 21 years,” Horton said, “and He’s still working on me.”
He encouraged the group to give up the things of the world, including social media and electronic devices that distract from God.
“Give Me your idols,” Horton said God tells them, adding, “You should have no fear surrendering those things to Jesus.
“He gives me the strength to say no to the idols,” Horton said. “He gives us the energy to say no to our flesh. The question is, what are those idols in our life?”
During a worship session led by Travis Ryan and his band, students and leaders gave nearly $4,000, which will be used for a clean-water project in Cambodia, Sherann Kim said. The previous year’s Ignition offering enabled Kim and a team of nine other California Southern Baptists to visit the Southeast Asian country and participate in a project to bring clean water to a remote village.