Articles by: Mike Ainsworth Jr. | Urgent Church and Sydney Higgins | North Pointe Church
This past weekend, our students attended Accelerant, an IPHC youth conference held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This event is always a highlight at the start of a new year of student ministry. It was a powerful time with young people from across the country for a weekend of worship, fellowship, and spiritual growth. Planning and organizing this trip is a large undertaking, but it always becomes such a beneficial time for our students.
The Accelerant team spares no expense in creating an unforgettable experience for everyone. This year's overall theme was perfectly described in Pastor Sharo's message, "I see Daniels Rising." Throughout the conference, you could feel this drawing from the Holy Spirit for students to make their move and take their place in the local church's ministry.
As the first day of the conference began, we were excited and eager to see what was in store. God always shows up when people gather together in His name. I have heard so many stories of how students would attend for all the wrong reasons, and yet, amid the first worship environment, God shows up and meets them where they are. In the services, we saw the Holy Spirit poured out on a generation of students who are tired of settling for mediocre faith. As Pastor Sharo said, This generation will be "a generation of Daniels." Men and women who are unwilling to settle for anything less than the life that God has destined them to live.
Every student ministry has a culture created by a common language. The hope is that this culture is discipleship and encouragement, but that's not always the case. Culture is set by the words we use more than others. At Accelerant, I heard the language of our student ministry shift. This provided an opportunity to create a healthy culture and to refocus on what is most important: Jesus. With each service, we had opportunities to pray, weep, and worship together.
We encountered the presence of God together. It was transformational! We had students texting their parents, telling them they wanted to change and follow Jesus more closely. We had a student give their life to Jesus. They are all coming home from Accelerant, ready to take to the streets and see God use them to spread the message of Jesus. Now, it's our turn to help encourage them to carry that fire beyond a moment into a movement that lasts a lifetime.
Mike Ainsworth, Jr.
Every year, I eagerly anticipate all that God has in store during the Accelerant Conference in Gatlinburg, TN. This year was no exception and exceeded all my expectations.
The worship and speakers were incredible. During each service, the altars overflowed with students earnestly seeking the Lord's presence, experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and finding healing and deliverance.
Our church sent a group of seven teens and four adults, each returning with an amazing testimony. Even our typically reserved student exhibited boldness, being among the first at the altar when Pastor Sharo called for "Daniels rising" to step out in faith. I watched amazed as another one of our more reserved students climbed over chairs to reach the altar before the call was even made.
A young lady in our group got saved last summer and has been on fire ever since. She walked away being filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to witness and share the Gospel in her school. Four of our other students also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit this year and many of them deliverance from addictions, doubt, and the bondage of anxiety and depression. Several of them heard specific calls and were given direction as to where God is leading them. Each of our teens came to Accelerant one way, had a personal encounter with the Lord and left changed.
I’m not sure I will ever be able to adequately put in to words how blessed I feel to get to be even a small part of these students lives, but it is truly amazing. I’ve always been taught and believe it to be true, these students are not the church of tomorrow, they are the church of today! I know we’ve all heard it said before, but I truly believe God is and will continue to use this generation in a powerful way and I can’t wait to see all that He has in store.
I could spend hours discussing each individual's journey and the evident hand of God in their lives. I am thankful for another amazing year at Accelerant and blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing group of teens!
North Pointe Church