|ARDEN HILLS — Last year, more than 1,000 people—mainly students—were trained in how to evangelize at the inaugural Ignite Conference. Some 750 attended in person, while several hundred more participated via the conference’s live stream.
This year, organizers have opened the doors of the conference to include adults, citing the desire of several sponsor churches who wanted their adults to be able to participate in the effective training.
“Basically after going through the training, [the sponsor churches] just really wanted it to be open not just to students but to others within their congregations,” said Matt Brown, evangelist with Think Eternity, which is the host of the conference.
The two-day conference, which will be held Oct. 12-13 at North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills, will utilize the evangelism training developed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“It talks about the effective Christian life, the victorious Christian life, and then it goes into practical evangelism training,” Brown said. “It really has a big, heavy emphasis on walking with Christ yourself, on your own faith in Christ and really establishing that in a deeper way and then moves into [how] you share that with others.”
The decision to allow adults to attend the conference also fills a gap in the marketplace, Brown believes, in evangelism training.
“In some of the stuff that I’ve seen across the country, there’s a pretty big gap there of evangelism training conferences for adults,” he said. “There is a little bit more for students, but even there, there’s not a lot. [We] just wanted to serve the city, and that’s why we said, ‘Yeah, of course we’ll allow everyone of any age to come.’ But I know that it will be a heavy student population, really big Next Generation focus …”
Teaching at the Ignite Conference will be interspersed with music and worship from several Christian artists. Dove Award-winning worship artists Shane and Shane will perform, as will local hip-hop artist Tru-Serva. SONICFLOOd founding member and current faculty member at North Central University Jeff Deyo will also perform. The Rev. Per Nilsen, lead pastor at North Heights Lutheran Church, will be involved with teaching.
Brown believes the particular type of message Ignite aims to convey is also missing in the marketplace.
“There are events but not necessarily focused on the gospel and how to take the gospel to those outside the church,” he said. “That’s where we sense God leading us with that ministry calling on our lives of evangelists. To shine that spotlight on the message of the gospel, not just holding it in but taking it out and doing it with love and respect. Doing it with gentleness and respect and the love of God.”
Brown hopes that those who attend not only learn how to proclaim the message of Christ but also will take that message with them.
“My vision for [the conference] would be that people would be equipped to take the message of Christ for the rest of their lives,” he said. “[I’m] praying that the church in the Twin Cities catches God’s heart and gets the resources they need and the wisdom they need to be able to take the gospel to people that are outside of the church already.”
ACTIONPOINT: For more information on the Ignite Conference and to register, visit www.ignitelive.org. For more information about Think Eternity, visit www.thinke.org.