The Power of
Youth Conference Goes Vertical
Vertical Three Conference | Louisville, KY | July 16-19, 2017
The 2017 Vertical Three Conference (VIII) returned to Louisville, Kentucky, and hit a home run for all attendees. Over 3,400 registered participants experienced an incredible week of CTS Ministry Expo events, seminars, service opportunities, and worship services sponsored by Randall House through its Vertical Three department. Highlighting the boldness our hope in Christ brings, the VIII Conference aided attendees in exploring feelings of inferiority, strategies for sharing faith, and the work of God’s Spirit in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Batting lead-off for the teen service speakers, Michael Smith, pastor of Heritage FWB Church in Ashland, Kentucky, delivered a powerful message on the confident hope all believers possess in Christ. His message revealed how hope in Christ does not put us to shame, but shapes our lives as we serve God.
Brandon Roysden (pictured above), director of the conference, followed on Sunday evening, encouraging students from around the country to find and prioritize their “why” for the goal of reaching people for Christ and giving God supreme glory. On Monday evening, Sam McVay, director of mobilization for International Missions, challenged students to be bold for the gospel, allowing its absolute truth to reorient their attitudes and actions. Zane Black, senior high minister at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, hit clean-up for the teen service speakers and did not disappoint. His passionate message targeted how boldness through Christ compels believers to live out their faith in the ever-shifting culture. He motivated students to spend time in prayer and to put their faith into action by reaching out and meeting the needs of others.
The conference also gave the youngest Free Will Baptists the chance to worship through age-specific services. Katie Greenwood led 106 preschoolers in fun crafts, exciting games, and truth-filled Bible lessons each night. Johnny Miller guided 276 first to third graders in Kids Worship, with great music and exciting teaching featuring the theme “Off To Seek the Savior.”
Over in 456 Worship, Steve Greenwood engaged with 307 energetic kids and discussed characters from the Bible who lived a bold life for God. Pastor Steve positioned those in 456 Worship to see how they too can live boldly for God just like Moses, Esther, and Jesus.
Kids’ Corner returned this year and was a huge hit. It provided children with an opportunity to expend a little energy during the conference and meet other FWB children. Johnny Miller and his staff managed these fun activities for children on Monday through Wednesday. Children additionally had an opportunity to sing with the first-ever all-ages choir during the Wednesday night missions service.
Under the leadership of Jane Parker, Reach That Guy re-launched this year in Louisville as Serve the City, with many eager participants. This service-oriented ministry provided conference attendees with an opportunity to give of their time and effort to help meet the needs of the host city. Through 23 different service opportunities, 170 conference attendees gave over 2,000 hours of service to the city of Louisville. Participants thoroughly enjoyed their service projects, particularly sorting books and organizing clothing to help meet the needs of the homeless in Louisville.
In addition, 32 pints of blood were received from attendees during the annual convention blood drive. Overall, Serve the City proved a wonderful opportunity for church groups to give back through service while attending the National Association. If you are interested in participating next year, please contact Jane Parker: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attendees also gave back during the Tuesday evening Buck-A-Week offering. The year proved to be record setting, as over $11,600 was collected to benefit Rufo and Maria Gomez, North American missionaries in Kentucky, and David and Myriam Reeves, missionaries to France. Coin banks and online giving options are available (www.verticalthree.com) for those deeply concerned about FWB Missions. The 2018 Buck-A-Week offering will help support Josh and Ashley Bennett, missionaries to Tifton, Georgia, and Anthony and Lea Edgmon, missionaries to Alpedrete, Spain.
The GPS (Global Purpose Seekers) Experience guided 280 participants through missionary booths to meet and interact with Free Will Baptist missionaries. This experience allows visitors to hear missionaries share God’s call to take the gospel to unreached peoples. The hope is the experience will give students a fully-orbed global missions experience, where they not only learn about God’s desire for the nations, but also see what Free Will Baptists are doing to follow Him in spreading the hope-filled message of the gospel.
ENGAGE Leadership Network seminar series continues to be a vital addition to the conference. More than 80 breakout sessions explored topics regarding the reliability of Scripture, developing and deploying student-leaders, practical ways to share the gospel, and how to appropriately engage the culture—something for all participants. Seminar speakers, including those representing International Missions, North American Ministries, Women Nationally Active for Christ (WNAC), and Welch College shared informative and practical truth during the conference. The Engage Leadership Network also offered a children’s ministry and student ministry panel, discussing pressing questions, topics, and solutions for those serving in each respective ministry.
The 2017 Truth & Peace Student Leadership Conference continued its long tradition of guiding Free Will Baptist young people to understand their unique personalities and leadership strengths through 10 days of focused spiritual training. This training takes center-stage at VIII as student-leaders serve in a variety of ways, ensuring the conference runs smoothly.
This year, the conference had its largest number of student-leaders ever with 144 students attending from 20 states and three foreign countries.
The conference was the first held on the new Welch College campus in Gallatin, Tennessee. With Allen Pointer and staff at the helm, Truth & Peace training culminated in an intense five days of setup, teardown, growth, and selfless service at the VIII Conference. This student-leadership conference is available to any FWB high-school student (grades 9-12) and applications can be found online at www.VerticaThree.com.
The Youth Evangelistic Team (YET) traveled over 1,900 miles, conducting eight services in four states, and working on numerous service projects. Team leaders Jeremy and Beth Thomas did an outstanding job directing the program and mentoring students. Jeremy also assisted the group in leading worship (pictured above) for the VIII Conference, partnering with Mike Lewis to prepare, practice, and execute each night’s service. The 2018 YET Team will go out West for the 2018 summer tour.
If you were unable to attend the Vertical Three Conference in Louisville, please make plans now to attend the 50-year celebration of VIII in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 22-25. Next year, the conference will explore the theme “Unseen” from Hebrews 11:1, as Vertical Three helps students stand in a culture often hostile to their Christian faith. For updates throughout the year, visit www.VerticaThree.com.
Vertical Three Snapshot
Truth & Peace: 144 participants
Competitive Entries: 953
Serve the City: 170 volunteers, Over 2,000 hours, 23 projects
Buck-A-Week Offering: $11,600
Youth Worker of the Year - Allen Hood (OK)
Youth of the Year - Whitney Moody (MS)
Youth Group of the Year - Ina Impact (IL)
Jim Lauthern Legacy Award - Jerrod Vickers
2018 YET Team
Mason McClintock (GA)
Anna Pinson (TN)
Meredith Baer (NC)
Layla England (KY)
Nate Mattingly (KY)
Krista Lindsay (AL)
Abby Myers (MI)
Kyle Wallace (TN)
Noah Ward (AR)
Collin Long (MO)
Samuel Rodriguez (FL)
Helen Shtefan (FL)
Elisa Seabolt (AR)