By Allen Palmeri
ST. PETERS—First Baptist Church here got in touch with “Do Hard Things” Aug. 28 at Church on the Rock by sending 19 teens and parents to be part of the national tour billed as “the teenage rebellion against low expectations.”
Conference participants numbered 1,905 and came from as far away as Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nebraska. One was from Switzerland. They came to bust the myth of adolescence and give glory to God.
At one point in the afternoon, in response to a Gospel message, dozens stood, one by one, and said “Jesus Christ is Lord!” Nearly 200 may have been saved. The application for First St. Peters out of the day’s events was clear.
“I think parents can challenge them more,” said Helen Mullner, a member of First St. Peters who led the Aug. 28 group and is helping to hold things together while the church looks for a youth pastor. “I think we do let them off the hook. The challenge is for parents to have higher expectations, especially when it comes to reading the Word and studying the Word.”
The “Do Hard Things” brand is owned by Alex and Brett Harris, twins from Portland, Ore., who are juniors at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., and authors of the Do Hard Things manifesto as well as Start Here, a field guide. In St. Peters, they asked a lot of tough questions, taught deeply at times on subjects like economics, law, theology, and politics, and used interactive polling technology to connect with their audience.
Only 21, they have been doing these conferences for three and a half years. And they don’t play around.
“How often do you pray just because you believe God is there and He hears you?” Brett Harris said. “How often do you read your Bible just because you believe it is God’s Word? How often do you obey God just because you believe in Him? Do you see enough evidence of God’s grace in your life to be confident that you have been born again?”
Doctrine is at the heart of everything that the Harris twins produce.
“‘Do Hard Things’ is a fight against our sin nature, first and foremost,” Brett Harris said.
Their message is that God is still using young people today. Their challenge to themselves is to do that with humility.
“We’re just two guys who started a blog,” Brett Harris said.
Most of the audience in St. Peters was 15-year-olds, followed by 13-year-olds, according to interactive polling data collected within the sanctuary.