We just completed two huge events in our ministry—Easter weekend and West Coast Baptist Youth Conference. After many months of diligent prayer and preparation by a large team, God gave us a great week of decisions for Christ and personal life-change. Over the course of both events we had at least 200 people trust Christ as their personal Saviour, and another 200+ teenagers surrendered their lives to serve Jesus Christ.
The Devil’s advocate might wonder, “Are these decisions real?” “Do they last, or are they just made in the emotion of a moment?” Are they truly the work of God or are they just hype—merely the results of a pepped up crowd in an energized environment? I’ve heard my share of cynical questions over the years, and I’ve even wrestled personally with doing my best to make sure the events we host are conducted in the power of the Spirit of God and not just merely hyped up.
But to really get to the heart of the answer, all I need to do is think of my own testimony. Saved at age seven, I was privileged to be a part of exciting, big events all through my childhood and teen years—junior camps, teen camps, youth conferences, revivals, pastors’ conferences, etc. And when I think back to those years, it’s easy to see that truly—they counted! Having been saved now for 34 years and serving the Lord for 20 years, I can say that every single event played a significant role in leading me to this point in my life.
How? Here are seven ways that big spiritual events made a difference in my life:
1. They served as mile markers on a spiritual journey—in the big picture of my life, God used these events to produce spiritual progress and reaffirm spiritual decisions. They were like road-signs on a long journey that reminded me I had come a good distance and I was still headed the right direction.
2. They reminded me of others who believed what I believed—each event placed me in the path of guest speakers, other churches, and other spiritual leaders who believed the same Word of God that I believed. They reminded me in a big way that I was not alone!
3. They served as focused times of revival—no doubt, the focused prayer, the preaching, and the tender expectation of my heart in these seasons brought about wonderful times of revival and spiritual renewal. Each event was like a fresh gust of wind in the sails of my life to keep me heading God’s direction.
4. They served as course correctors—often God used the preaching and teaching at these events to bring about correction and reproof. I can recall many moments at invitations in dealing with bad attitudes and sin struggles. These events were critical in keeping me engaged in the battle against sin.
5. They served as course reinforcers—often God used these events to stir up something He had already done in my life. Though I had already surrendered to serve Him, each event stirred up the gift and reinforced God’s call and direction for my life.
6. They provided awesome, wholesome spiritual memories—amazingly, to this day, when I look back on these events, they still bring a smile to my heart! I will never forget both the fun and the spiritual memories that such times provided. Young people enjoy energy—they are drawn to high energy events—and these spiritual events leave an eternal good memory.
7. They jump-started my personal walk with Christ—without fail, the result of every single event was an increased desire to walk with the Lord personally. Each camp and conference served to ignite my love for the Lord and revitalize my personal walk with him each day.
So, in case you’re wondering—YES—I believe big events count in a major way! I thank the Lord for how He used big events to strengthen my heart for Him. And I praise the Lord for the wonderful response He gave us this week in thousands of hearts because of the diligent labor of so many people!
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)