We just finished a youth discipleship weekend called Fire-Up Conference. This was the sixteenth year that we have met in Troy, IL with high school students and ministry leaders from all over the region. There were approximately 400 in attendance at Fire-Up 2012 and it was amazing year of ministry! Here are seven words that come to mind after this weekend!
There’s an expectation that goes into a weekend like this. Prayer, planning and preparing leads to great things. There are some churches who attend every year and their students and leaders are ready to hear and experience God’s voice anew in their lives. There are home churches praying for their groups and that leads to people anticipating what God will do in their lives. I am always amazed how things come together. Fire-Up weekend also makes me think about the role expectation and excellence plays in worship services each weekend!
It’s not Fire-Up that changes students’ lives – it’s Jesus. But Fire-Up is one of the million vehicles to help the work happen. It’s a place that students sense a call to follow Christ. To surrender all. To love him deeply and totally. Our prayer each year is that students lives will be transformed. Any hype surrounding Fire-Up (t-shirts, publicity, production, and over the top hospitality) is all for one goal – to invite students to experience the transforming power of Christ in their lives.
My prayer is that students and ministry leaders from around the area will sense God’s work and movement in their lives – that their hearts, their hunger and thirst for God would literally be renewed at Fire-Up. But it’s also become something of a revival at our church – the host church, Troy UMC. I’m thankful for this big event and the opportunity to center around it for the weekend – it makes an impact!
There are things that happen that I am astounded came together. I am grateful to be surrounded by so many people in my life who are gifted, passionate and willing to serve with me in ministry. I’m thankful to the Harvest Band for not only leading music, but helping in many areas – it’s what we do. Leading worship is more than being on stage. Thanks to Chase, Ben, Max, Joe, Kim, Tyler, and Bonnie for serving with Harvest this weekend! I was also grateful for Steve Tankersly, Tyler, Brian, Matt and Collin who helped set things up Thursday and Friday too. Also, a huge thanks to Christine Fuesz who is a partner in ministry! She takes care of so many details it’s mind boggling! Thanks for your role all year, Christine! And as I’m mentioning partnership, I’m grateful for Suzanne Price who thinks the way I think about things. It’s fun to live life with her both in ministry in church and ministry at home. Partnerships in ministry make things sustainable and attainable!
The world will never be the same after Fire-Up Conference 2012. History will be changed. The lives of students who began to follow Christ in a deeper and more abandoned way will literally change their world. One practical aspect to this was the mission component to Fire-Up 2012. Thanks Andy and Dannette for their leadership in helping to anchor a portion of this and thanks to the Core Team for dreaming up ways to get missions going in a tangible way for so many students! Here is an update:
~ Over $800 was raised for Destiny Rescue Mission.
~ $2,331 (which is enough to purchase approx 42 water filters) was given.
~ 6 children were sponsored through Compassion International.
~ Approximately 8,000 water bottles were donated to be shared with three area non profit ministries around the St. Louis region.
I always think that one of these days, when I’m old and grey and living in some retirement community somewhere, that there is a good chance that the church I attend could be pastored by someone who found Christ or felt a call to ministry at Fire-Up Conference! Same with missions around the world… I have a vision that there will be students, young adults and leaders from this region in Illinois who will grow up experiencing the transforming power of Christ and commit to following his call to go into all the world!
As a “home missionary,” I am grateful for all the opportunities I have to be in ministry with so many students and children. It constantly solidifies and confirms the call in my life to serve the church in this unique way! Fire-Up 2012 was one more step in the process.
I am thankful for Tom Richter (Queens, NY) who was the weekend speaker. Tom has an unbelievable way of connecting Scripture to real life and does it with energy, humor and solid theology.
Tom Cooney was a guest with us during the weekend. Tom C. is from Clearwater,FL and is deaf. He is an advocate for the deaf community, but more importantly, is a witness for Christ. He has been connected to sports all his life with some pretty impressive opportunities, he has met and introduced sign language to seven US presidents and the list goes on!
Steve Gross was one of the seminar leaders and spoke on Sunday morning. He, his wife Melissa, and their four children will be moving to Haiti this August as full time missionaries. His story and testimony is powerful. Steve was my roommate at Asbury Seminary and he does a great Kermit impression!
Iris Uzzell was also a seminar speaker. I have known Iris for years – since serving as a youth pastor at her church back 1993. Her seminar was on the topic of what she wishes she would have know about faith as a young person that she knows now as someone in her 70’s!
The core team is a group of youth pastors who help plan the weekend. I appreciate their leadership – it’s a blast to serve with them. They have great ideas! Thanks Luan, Erin, Katie, Katie, and Corey.
The host team is the hospitality and registration team from Troy UMC, the host church. There were more people connected this year than ever! There were approximately 35-40 Troy UMC folks who were there the whole weekend and another 60 or so who participated for one portion of part of the weekend. Thanks to Sheila, Amanda, Beth, Rick, Kim, Jim, Jim, Ed, Isabel, Heather, Pam, Pam, Steve, Linda, and all the others!
The production team including video, media and sound were a huge part of the weekend. Thanks for the guys who help make it all happen during the worship times! Since our church recently expanded and upgraded the building and sound, most all of the production team was from our church. I’m grateful for their leadership for Fire-Up and for every weekend. Thanks Mark B., Timm, David, Matt S., Mark F., Matt W., Jim, Jason, Ryan, and all the others!
Tim Price // facebook.com/fireupconference