ARLINGTON?”God has abundantly exceeded all of our expectations for the Student Evangelism Conference,” said Matt Hubbard, interim student evangelism associate and coordinator of the Engage student revival ministry. A record number of students from across Texas came to the two-day SEC Aug. 1-2 to hear speakers, musicians and other acts.
Registration and attendance at this year’s event at the Arlington Convention Center nearly doubled from last year, Hubbard said, with 2,540 people registered compared to 1,383 in 2007. The number of youth groups attending was also up by almost a third with more than 150 groups attending this year.
In addition to nearly doubling the attendance, SEC also resulted in 329 decisions for Christ, including 141 professions of faith; 126 were rededication/assurance of salvation decisions; 22 signified calls to Christian service; and 41 were other decisions.
“It was amazing to be a part of God’s work at SEC,” Hubbard said. “The decisions and changes that were made in the lives of students and churches across the state, however, are just now being put into effect.”
Speakers for SEC included Jay Lowder of Wichita Falls, on Friday night, and Jose Zayas of Portland, Ore., on Saturday.
Zayas rallied the teenagers who packed into the auditorium Saturday morning, challenging them to practice sharing their faith in order to become proficient in the discipline.
“The only difference in you and an Olympic athlete is that they’ve done the same thing again and again and again.”
Encouraging that same commitment level when witnessing, Zayas referred to 1 Peter 3:13-18, stating, “The only way to learn to share your faith is to share your faith. Like a good athlete, always be ready. They didn’t just show up and try?they got ready to do something.”
Working through an acrostic of GOSPEL, Zayas explained how teenagers could tell the story of the entire Bible in 10 minutes or less, using this guide.
“If we don’t practice now, we’re gonna be scared to death,” Zayas reminded. “The only way for you to be more effective is to practice again and again.”
The worship band for SEC was Spur58 of Nashville, Tenn. Other bands included Leeland, of Baytown, and Hawk Nelson of Ontario, Canada.
The conference also included a testimony by Iris Blue of Lucas, a former strip club owner, and the humor and illusions of Jared Hall of Baytown.
In addition to those ministering on the stage, “over 50 volunteers from across the state gave up their weekend to help make SEC what it was,” Hubbard said.
“We were blessed this year by the impact and the power of the preaching,” said J.R. Regalado, youth pastor at Rosanky Baptist Church in Rosanky. “SEC gives us the opportunity to come together and unite before we get back to school. It gets kids in the mindset of authentic Christian living.”
Regalado shared his concern about a student who had been in church for many years, though Regalado didn’t know if he had truly made a profession of faith. During SEC, the young man accepted Christ.
Jason Taylor, youth pastor at Salem Sayers Baptist Church in Adkins, commented: “Our students enjoyed the opportunity to come together in corporate worship with their peers. I think SEC is a good tool to use. We trust the Lord to use it to encourage them and inspire them to grow deeper in their walk with Christ.”