Earlier this month thousands of high schoolers gathered in Gainesville, Georgia to attend a four-day Christian conference, and raised $57,000 for abused women and the homeless.
The Forward Conference 2019, was held at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth and hosted by Jentzen Franklin’s Free Chapel. It attracted more than 12,600 high school students from 32 states and five nations.
“When students are given more than just rules and regulations and given the opportunity to really make a difference in the world, I have found time after time they rise to the occasion,” Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of Free Chapel, told Fox News in an interview.
Reggie Dabbs, an influential Christian leader, and the emcee for the weekend chimed in saying, “What we’re doing stretches far beyond these walls.”
This year marked the 15th annual gathering and included some of the most well-known Christian artists and pastors. The worship lineup included Hillsong Worship, Passion, Bethel, and the Free Chapel band. The speakers included Carl Lentz of Hillsong NYC, Dawn Chere Wilkerson of VOUS Church in Miami, and Levi Lusko of Fresh Life Church.
“The culture of Forward Conference is one that students know they’re going to have fun, they’re going to hear great music and great bands and they’re going to hear relevant messages to their life,” Franklin said to the Gwinnett Daily Post. “Someone is going to talk to them about where they’re living now and how do you flesh out the walk of Christ.”
The speakers fired up the students and before sending them back to their high schools all across the country, they motivated them to live out their faith for Jesus.
“Why not use what has been provided for you? Why do we do things on our own?” Lentz asked the students. “The next chapter of your faith starts with a renewed desire to get to know the Holy Spirit. We desperately need the Holy Spirit to refresh us every day.”
One of the most incredible moments of the conference came when the speakers announced that they would be taking an offering for New Beginnings, an inner-city ministry in Atlanta, and the Dream Center, an organization that helps homeless families get back on their feet.
The 12,000 teenagers raised over $57,000 for these two ministries, equipping both with an incredible amount of money.
Michael Drawdy, a student from Augusta, Georgia, who has attended Forward for the last five years, emphasized how important the conference is for him.
“It’s different than any other conference,” Drawdy said. “Any other conference preaches the same thing. … Forward is about people getting their lives right and delivered.”
“It’s about students. … They come here and see there is life with ministry,” Drawdy added.
“Forward Conference is dedicated to teaching, equipping, and empowering students to live out their greatest potential, and to move Forward in their relationship with Christ,” the website details. “Our focus is worship, self-growth, and having the best times of our lives. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.”