“The stakes have never been higher” for life changing decisions evangelist Clayton King told the latest crowd at a series of youth crusades in western North Carolina Feb. 28.
Hosted by Mars Hill College for two nights, Ignite 2009 continues a series of events launched in March 2006 that will peak with a three-day crusade in Asheville Civic Auditorium in March 2010. Other special events are scheduled in March, September and October leading up to the Asheville “Ignite Youth Explosion.”
Ignite began in the heart of Maggie Valley First Baptist Church Pastor Ricky Mason who was burdened for the youth of his community. His concern blossomed into organizing local churches, primarily Baptist, to conduct special evangelistic events targeted and fashioned for youth, although all are welcome
“This is not a Holy Ghost pep session for God’s people,” Mason said as musicians were warming up the crowd streaming into Mars Hill’s Moore Auditorium. “This is not a revival. This is for lost people.”
He cited Balsam Baptist Church which last year brought 26 people to an Ignite event and 24 accepted Christ. The next morning 28 people came forward for baptism at the church.
Allen’s Creek brought 16 and had 14 saved. “They doubled their youth group that weekend,” Mason said.
Through nine earlier Ignite events more than 1,400 have made professions of faith. All are counseled and directed toward local churches. Information is shared with local churches for follow-up.
King, an evangelist and founder of Crossroads Ministries, has been the preacher for each event, and the musicians have all been the same, including Carl Cartee and his praise band from Nashville, Tenn. Musical interpretive drama team 3D and local praise band Leap of Faith are also regulars.
Local churches pick up the $10,000 to $12,000 cost of the events so admission is free. This is the second year Mars Hill has hosted Ignite.
King, 35, has preached in dozens of countries. He tunes his message to the ears of his audience, and this audience was youth so he was self deprecating and silly at times, setting up his point with a story about his fever blister. They ate it up.
If you will do whatever it takes to keep a fever blister from exploding on your face, why won’t you do whatever it takes to bring a friend to Jesus Christ, he asked them. He preached from Mark 2 where four men carried their paralytic friend to Jesus.
“When we know a crisis is coming, we take action and do whatever it takes to avert it,” he told the youth.
He told them they must regain a sense of urgency about their faith. He said their greatest need is not money, or choosing the right college or dating the hot girl or most popular guy or making varsity. “Our greatest need is that we must have our sins forgiven,” he said.
King said the days of a church announcing a revival meeting and expecting people to “come in droves are over and they’re not coming back.” He told the young people they must go and bring their friends to Christ, as the paralytic’s four friends did for him.
Since the initial Ignite meeting in March of 2006, other events have been held at Lake Junaluska, Western Carolina University, Maggie Valley, and Cherokee, N.C.
The “Ignite Youth Explosion” meetings schedule for 2009 in Western North Carolina includes:
March 28th – 29th at Pine Bridge Center in Spruce Pine; Sept.12 –13, Bear Ridge Mall in Andrews and Oct. 3-4 at McDowell High School in Marion. All events start at 6:30 p.m.
The three day event at the Asheville Civic Center is March 26-28, 2010.
Mason is anticipating more than 7,000 youth and adults to gather each night in Asheville.
Contact him at First Baptist Church, Maggie Valley, (828) 926-0065; [email protected] See also www.ignitewnc.com.