"It has begun," writes Greg Stier, president and founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries, about the evangelistic ministry's 2005-2006 conference season.
Dare 2 Share, which targets junior and high school students to help them understand and share their faith, opened its first conference of the season earlier this month, gathering close to 2,000 kids in Grace Church near Twin Cities, Minn. This year, the theme is David's fight against Goliath.
"It's knowing that God has given you a sling, equipped you with everything you need to make a difference," said Stier at the Oct. 7-8 event.
The Goliath is any giant that a teenager faces, said Dare 2 Share Spokesperson Wendy J. Henkelman, from peer pressure to dealing with relational issues, from drug or alcohol abuse to parent-child problems.
"A giant would be a problem in your life that would seem too big to overcome," she added.
But the motivational speakers galvanize kids to overcome by relying on God. In addition to Stier, two others spoke to speakers and their youth pastors and leaders Jose Zayas from Focus on the Family and Karl Wheeler who has twenty years of experience as a pastor and youth worker.
An MTV-styled worship and drama section on Friday night brought students to a life crossroad, a dire situation where they must decide on something in life. Then, on Saturday afternoon, students went out to the community and lent a helping hand to a local relief agency.
In just under four hours, students collected over five tons of canned food from door to door for the Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities. It exceeded the goal of 3 tons, and the Union Gospel Mission can now give Thanksgiving baskets to over 4,000 families.
"It's a chance for the kids to step into the community and give back to the local rescue mission and also practice sharing their faith," said Henkelman.
Beginning with Twin Cities, Dare 2 Share teens will also raise money towards a Hurricane Emergency Scholarship Fund this year. The fund allows teens affected by the hurricanes to attend a conference in their area. Dare 2 Share hopes to raise enough money for up to 2,000 youths in Houston and 1,000 youths nationwide. Over $5,000 was collected from teens during the conference Saturday.
The next conference will be in Charlotte, N.C, Nov 4-5. There will also be one in Denver, Colo., Nov 11-12.