Alive Youth Rally, the brainchild of Ryan Hodgins and Kevin Watson, celebrated its 10-year anniversary on March 31, 2018. The youth pastors and leaders at the Spartanburg, S.C., Church have changed through the years, but Watson and his team have worked diligently to make each year better than the last, which is not easy to do for 10 years. This year’s crowd was one of the largest to date with more than 500 students in attendance, and the team of volunteers from the Spartanburg Church kept everything flowing smoothly. “You cannot do something like this without a lot of hands,” one volunteer commented.
Because the rally took place on Easter weekend, the room’s decor emphasized Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The stage was set up to resemble the rocks surrounding the empty tomb, and a giant replica of the crown of thorns was suspended in midair above a portable baptistry. The fantastic artistry was created by Spartanburg member Henrietta Deadmondt and her team, whose goal was to enhance the experience of the students who traveled from all over the Conference for the rally.
The guest speaker this year was Roger Hernandez, ministerial director and evangelism coordinator for the Southern Union. Although Hernandez spends most of his time traveling around the Union participating in evangelistic meetings, he truly has a heart for young people. The students were on the edge of their seats, hanging on to his every word. At the end of the church service, Hernandez made a call by asking the students two questions. If they wanted to make a decision for baptism, come to his right, and if they felt called to ministry in some way, come to his left. There was a large group of students on each side. Those attending witnessed the blessing of seeing young people committing their lives to Christ and to sharing the Gospel.
Before the Sabbath afternoon session began, Watson and Henry Johnson, associate pastor of the Spartanburg Church, continued the anniversary celebration with a few giveaways. Each giveaway corresponded to a question asked by Johnson and Watson. In order to qualify for a chance at winning a prize, students had to raise their hands and not shout out the answers. The one question these men probably regret asking was for the students to guess their ages. The Sabbath evening session concluded with eight students entering the baptismal tank, and exiting with big smiles after publicly declaring their decision to follow Christ. “Seeing young people dedicate their lives to Jesus makes all the work and sacrifice for putting on an event like this for 10 years worth it. All Heaven is rejoicing, and so are we. I can’t wait to see the next chapters in the lives of these young people as they impact our Conference for Jesus,” said Johnson.
Carolina | June 2018