THOMPSON’S STATION — The first young adult conference sponsored by the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board went as well as anyone could have expected, said Ryan Keaton, emerging generations specialist for the TBMB.
The conference at Thompson Station Baptist Church drew 180 registrants from 35 churches, Keaton said.
Keaton said his desire is for an annual young adult conference along with regional conferences. The conferences can be a resource for churches to receive training in young adult ministry and to network with other churches that are targeting young adults, he said.
The conferences offer opportunities to get ideas and tips on what is working and what is not working in young adult ministry, he added.
The April 15 meeting featured worship led by Andrew Holt and messages from Scott Dawson on sharing the gospel and Shaun Pillay on the importance of taking the gospel to your city and a panel discussion. Keaton also reminded attendees the need for connections within their communities.
Attendees also could choose from between eight breakout conferences on a variety of ministry-related topics and were provided a copy of a new resource — Winning Young Adults in our Harvest Field, written by young adult leaders in Tennessee.
Clay Hallmark, president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church, Lexington, said the conference “was a high energy worship event which offered young adults from around the state of Tennessee the opportunity to find real answers to many of the questions they are asking.”
He added that the conference also “provided participants the opportunity to discover, discuss, develop and then deploy evangelism and ministry to their own emerging generation in the local church setting.”
Dustin Laster, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hampshire, was among those who attended the event.
“In a world where it seems that everything is getting more fast paced and self-centered, it is vital that we reach the young adults in our area or the enemy will,” he observed.
Citing Jesus’ words in Luke 9:23, Laster said, “ If we don’t reach young adults and disciple them in ‘picking up their cross and following Jesus,’ we won’t be able to effectively reach a lost world. The young adults in our churches should already be leading and learning to lead.”
The pastor observed that the conference was enlightening and challenging. It provided opportunities for the young adults to see how they could go back to their churches and be involved in ministry, he added.
Hallmark added that he believes the young adult conference “will grow in the years to come to be one of the most strategic ministries we employ across the Tennessee Baptist Convention.”
Keaton said the conference will be just one resource provided for young adult ministry in Tennessee. “We are looking forward to producing additional resources to reach young adults in our state,” he added. B&R