Last Saturday I flew back to Denver after an exhilarating and exhausting week at Lead THE Cause Chicago. God did so many amazing things that it's hard to articulate in a single blog post. Here are seven highlights from the week!
1. The Prayer Experience
The power of seeing 500+ teenagers call out to God for revival in the historic Moody Memorial is hard to put into words. After these students marched in prayerful silence from Torrey Gray Auditorium at Moody Bible Institute to a park near the church they sat down and composed letters to God, asking him to use them in powerful ways when they got back home to their communities. Many of them read their letters from the stage in the church as they yielded themselves personally and publicly to God.
2. The Outreach Experiences
On Wednesday and Thursday teenagers were mobilized to Gospelize! They spread across Chicago and had 1477 Gospel conversations resulting in 26 indications for faith in Jesus! Many people heard the good news of Jesus from these on-fire-for-Jesus teenagers!
Watching teenagers engage in Gospel conversations with complete strangers was powerful, but it didn't stop there .On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday teenagers were given the opportunity to text a friend, call/Facetime a friend and write a letter to a friend. It was powerful to watch 500+ teenagers making phone calls, some of them weeping, as they passionately shared the hope of Jesus with those they cared about the most.
During the Friday night commissioning ceremony the huge stack of handwritten letters that teenagers left on the stage (to be sent this week) reminded us all that much of the real work of Gospelizing starts when these teenagers get back home and reach out to their friends who received the letters and got the phone calls.
3. The Worship Experience
Monday night the crowd of still-aclimating-to-a-new-experience teenagers looked like a warehouse full of mannequins as The Foreigners led worship. But by Friday night they were immersed in no-holds-barred praise to the King of kings! It was powerful to hear this 500 voice choir of teenagers unleash their voices in praise to the Lord after having seen him work powerfully through them on the streets of Chicago!
4. The Next Level Training Track
Teenagers, who've been to Lead THE Cause at least twice and who've been recommended by their youth leaders as teenagers who lead the way (when it comes to serving Christ and spreading his message), participated in our early morning Next Level Training Track. Here young people were trained to lead the way last week and maximumize their impact for Christ at their schools.
5. The Sharpie Challenge
On Wednesday night I challenged teenagers to consider becoming full-time missionaries. I assured them that every Christian is a missionary already no matter what their vocation but that some are called to be mobilized for the Gospel as a full-time profession across the street, across the tracks and/or across the world!
53 teenagers asked for the Sharpie I was carrying to put their initials on my arm. This served as their commitment to become full-time missionaries!
Inspiring us all with the need to reach "every teen everywhere" the participation of Peter Shinde from India and Michael Vakhtomin from Ukraine gave us a visceral reminder! They came to Lead THE Cause for the entire week and conspired with our Global Director of Outreach, Mark Andreson, about how to infuse what they learned during the week into their already robust and effective ministries to reach young people and equip youth leaders back home!
6. The Youth Leader Session
I love youth leaders! Every morning we had a chance to engage youth leaders right after breakfast with some interactive training. We challenged them to make a GREAT goal for the school year and build a youth ministry based on the 7 values of a Gospel Advancing Ministry. These youth leaders finished the week having a powerful and practical plan they could begin to implement right away!
7. The Commissioning Ceremony
On Friday night teenagers were challenged one final time by Zane Black, Doug Holliday and myself to lead the way for advancing the Gospel and multiplying disciples when they got back home. Watching teenagers get anointed and prayed over by their youth leaders and then watching those same teenagers anoint and pray over their youth leaders was one of the most powerful experiences we had during the week!
By the time we were done with the program on Friday night at 9pm teenagers and youth leaders alike were motivated, trained and ready. I can't wait to see what God will do through them when they get back home!
If you were at Lead THE Cause in Chicago what were your highlights this year? Leave your comments below. Let's pray for the attendees as they begin to implement what they learned last week and let's all be sure to pray for Lead THE Cause Austin that starts on Monday night!