ST. LOUIS – Before their week with Global Encounter Ministries, Brett Blair spent months in prayer for revival to come to his student ministry.
“We didn’t know exactly what we had been praying for but we could identify underlying spiritual warfare,” said Blair, associate pastor of students and families at Faith Baptist Church in Festus. “We felt like there were some strongholds in their lives holding them back from turning our student ministry from not just a string of fun events, but opportunities to share Christ with their friends.”
But even Blair was not prepared for how God would use Global Encounter to break down those strongholds and change the hearts of his students.
“Revival started last week,” he said. “It’s hard to articulate how my students became the hands and feet of Jesus, but they did. It was amazing to witness the things they did and their attitudes perpetuated by their hearts being in the right place. I took 16 students and each of them had an amazing encounter with God that caused them to truly yield their heart to Him.”
The youth group at Faith Baptist Church was one of 25 youth groups that included 550 youth across the Midwest who participated in Global Encounter in St. Louis July 8-15.
Global Encounter exists to partner and help equip the local church, particularly the next generation, to effectively and biblically take the gospel around the world. During the week, participants are trained and equipped in evangelism and are encouraged and given opportunities to serve churches that are working to reach their communities for Christ. St. Louis teams helped with Vacation Bible School, Backyard Bible Clubs and block parties.
Matt Kearns, the Making Disciples Catalyst for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), has a longstanding relationship with Global Encounter that goes back to its beginning days 25 years ago. He said he would like to see more Missouri Baptist youth groups take advantage of the unique experience Global Encounter provides in the discipleship of students for kingdom work.
“From its inception, Global Encounter has provided entry level mission experience that marries together training, equipping and mobilizing students and leaders,” Kearns said. “The fact is that it’s easier for students to get away from their normal surroundings and do missions, but the ultimate purpose is that when they are armed with the knowledge and experience Global Encounter provides, it will translate to their real mission field: their neighborhood, their friends at school, their sphere of influence.”
Blair said their time in St. Louis was also rewarding as a youth pastor. Not only did the Global Encounter team encourage him in youth ministry, they reinforced the message he had been trying to get to his students.
“The intentional investment they provide stretched my youth of their comfort zone in a wonderful way,” he said. “Sometimes you can take your youth to a weekend retreat or camp setting and it will either undermine or accelerate what you’re trying to do at home. I definitely felt the love they have for youth pastors and their families. They communicated well that they want to help us be the best youth ministers we can be and I genuinely appreciate that.”
For more information about Global Encounter Ministries visit their website, globalencounter.org or call 417. 883.2068.