We were last in New Lisbon at First Baptist Church in the Summer of 2014. Last time, we were excited at the crowd the Lord gave us. We had exceeded 100 teens in our overall attendance. This year, though our crowds were not as large overall, the Lord was definitely setting us up for some victories!
Through recruiting and various other strategies, we were able to largely saturate the region with news about the Cola Clash. On the first night, we had 75 young people attend. We were certainly thrilled with the response of those who came out, but we were also thrilled with what God did. Six young people trusted Christ!
One young man raised his hand but didn’t go back in the invitation. Joseph was burdened for him and several other guys who did the same thing. He talked to a few groups and a few individuals, but no one was willing to talk. He started talking to another group with that one young man in it. After a few minutes, the others in the group trickled off and only he was left. Joseph dove into the gospel with him and after a few minutes of conversation, he understood his need, bowed his head, and trusted Christ!
On the second night, we had serious weather issues that meant that we were forced to change our plans and compete indoors. Thankfully, the church had a gym, which we used for Big Ball Basketball and another indoor backup, World Series Baseball. Though we were down on attendance due to the weather and a conflicting mandatory sports meeting in town, God was still working in hearts. I preached the gospel again that night, and five more trusted Christ.
On the first night, Allie talked to one of the young ladies, but she wasn’t concerned about her need an didn’t really want to talk. On the second night, Allie tried to talk to her again and she admitted that she had really been thinking about what she had heard. But still, she was confused, because everyone always considered her to be a “good girl” and her priest said that she was going to heaven. Allie showed her so verses from the Bible and she saw that it wasn’t about what the priest said, it was about what the Bible said. After some further explanation, she finally understood the gospel—the lightbulb went on that salvation was through Jesus alone! She prayed and was gloriously saved!
One older teen named Luke stood up decisively at the invitation to go back. I had the privilege of speaking to him about his soul. He had always been looking for a particular feeling of “conviction” before he would get saved. He said that he still didn’t feel it, but he knew he needed to get saved because he deserved to die and go to Hell! Well, sufficed to say, the conviction really was there; it just wasn’t what he was expecting. With lucid understanding, he bower his head and trusted Christ to save him! He also told me that he two brother also needed to get saved, so I challenged him to share his testimony with them.
Joseph recruited three younger teens at an Ice Cream Shop. He remembers specifically that it was a real step of faith for him that he didn’t really want to do at first. On the first night, though, one of them came and trusted Christ! However, the other two couldn’t come because the priest told them not to come. Joseph had some texting conversations with their mother and finally convinced her to let them come. At the invitation, the two didn’t go back, but when Joseph started sharing his testimony with they, they started really listening. One turned to the other and said, “You know what? Let’s just do it!” They both trusted Christ that night!
On the final night, we expected to return to our normal size, but unbeknownst to us, there was a teen dance going on at the same time that gouged our attendance. We ended up with 42 total. Yet still, God had some special things for us in spite of it all.
At the invitation, the two brothers of Luke raised their hands and went back right away at the invitation. Both of them had been raised with the gospel, but had never trusted Christ. They said that they didn’t know why they hadn’t done it, but praise God they both did it that night! One was obviously under deep conviction with tears for what Jesus had done to save him! The younger of the two had been challenged by his brother to listen up to the preaching that night. Praise God for the power of conviction and the power of a testimony!
Overall, we had 85 young people attend and 13 trust Christ. Praise the Lord for a ready harvest and a powerful gospel!