Youth at Ephesus Junior Academy in Birmingham, Alabama, recently got a chance to say “YES” to Christ.
Principal Nikkia Hampton, pastors Larry Bailey and Tyler Buford, the Academy’s school board, and members of Ephesus Church united for the Truth 4 Youth evangelistic crusade at the school during the final quarter of the academic year.
Each day students were anxious to hear the evangelistic messages presented for more than two weeks, said Diane Ruff, associate director of education for the Southern Union Conference and the crusade’s facilitator.
She said the students enjoyed the music ministry of the school’s youth chorister team, as they led the student body in songs of praise and the theme song, “I’ll Say Yes, Lord, Yes!”
“They sang that song with so much feeling,” Ruff said. “I would ask them to think about what they were singing, ‘think about what you’re saying to Jesus, what kind of commitment you’re making to Him.’”
One of the main objectives of Adventist education is to provide an opportunity for students to accept Jesus as their personal Savior, while at the same time allowing them to discover enjoyment in the study of God’s Word.
In today’s society, by the time most youth become teenagers, they are bombarded with distractions that can turn them away from God. So, just when is the best time to try to direct youth to Christ? According to the Barna Group, a Christian polling firm, children between the ages of 5 and 13 are more than five times more likely than adults to make a lifelong commitment to Christ.
Truth 4 Youth embraced this stat, and students responded.
“I believe God sent you here to teach us about His word and His ways,” “Jayla” said of the evangelism program. “He has shown us so many things, but most of us don’t believe Him. Some of us just ignore all of the signs and warnings!”
“Ashley” proudly proclaimed: “Truth 4 Youth made me want to really change my life’s choices and be a better person. This program really had a big impact on my thoughts and on my life.”
Said Detrick Jackson, “I learned that God is coming back to this Earth. I am so thankful you came to Ephesus Academy so you can teach us about the wonderful things God has done for us and this world. I also learned that the dead don’t know anything!”
Topics during the program included what happens when people die, foods that should and should not be eaten, the special day God wants man to remember, and the second coming of Christ.
As Truth 4 Youth approached its ending, students expressed their love for Jesus by giving their hearts to Him through baptism. They began to pray and speak of their desire to surrender all to Him.
A baptismal service was held on Sabbath, May 4, 2019, at Ephesus Church, and parents and others witnessed several students proclaim, “I’ll say yes, Lord — yes to your will and to your way.”
The church and school are working together to nurture these youth as they become trained in service for the Master. Students are already actively participating in community service and other outreach projects that will allow them to witness and share their faith with others.
Several faculty members have also expressed interest in becoming equipped to launch Truth 4 Youth meetings in their church and school. Training is scheduled to be held before the end of the year.
is a former reporter for The Associated Press. He is also author of the book, Finding the Good, which was featured on National Public Radio.
Southern Union | July 2019