An Assemblies of God youth ministry aimed at fundraising for the church’s mission programs in the areas of transportation and communication continues to make an impact since the program began more than 65 years ago, church leaders said.
“Speed the Light” director Chet Caudill told The Christian Post that since 1945, over $253 million has been raised by students and churches in order to expedite the spread of the gospel message to those who need to hear.
“Speed the Light is the student-initiated, church-facilitated ministry which provides essential transportation like vehicles, and creative communication equipment, i.e., sound systems, projects, generators for Assembly of God missionaries around the world,” Caudill said. “In addition, Speed the Light has also been involved in resourcing ministries like Convoy of Hope – feeding the hungry and disaster relief, Project Rescue – rescuing girls from sex trafficking, and purchasing water well drilling rigs to provide clean water in Africa.”
AG leaders recently gave an example of the resourcefulness of one high school student who raised $20,000 for the program.
As a junior, Courtney Olson believed that God had told her to set a goal of $10,000 to raise for Speed the Light last year. Olson is part of AG’s youth group at Emmanuel Christian Center in Spring Lake Park, Minn.
Olson and her friends designed a "one month T-shirt" and gave the shirts to classmates who were willing to wear the shirts for one month straight. Olson collected $3,000 for Speed the Light with the help of 30 students last year.
Olson, now a senior at Centennial High School and determined to improve on last year's mark, was able to recruit 178 students to participate in her project this year.
The students met once a week at the high school and Olson's church throughout one month, AG reported. "At one of the meetings she also presented the Gospel, knowing that not all of the participating students had accepted God into their lives," said the local youth ministry leader.
Olson has collected nearly $17,000 for the Speed of Light ministry so far this year. "People recognize her from sharing at our church on a Sunday morning and still hand her money for the project ... it continues to trickle in," the ministry leader added.
Caudill said that this year’s theme for the ministry is “Relentless: After the One” and based on Luke 15:4.
“God reveals Himself through His Word. Luke 15:4 is a story about the love of God for His people. Just as a shepherd would go to great lengths to find the one sheep that was lost, God would relentlessly go after the one that does not know Him,” Caudill explained.
“He desires for us to have this same passion in reaching people today. Our efforts to resource our missionaries should reflect a ‘never say die’ attitude and constant pursuit.”
The ministry has filled the critical needs of AG missionaries around the world, Caudill said.
“Our missionaries tell us that they could not do what they do without Speed the Light. As a result, students realize that they really can and do impact their world through their generous and sacrificial giving,” he highlighted.
“They also learn biblical principles of stewardship that will stay with them throughout their lives. As they embrace Christ’s cause in reaching the lost, the prayer is that they will gain a global worldview that will inspire them to spread the gospel in their community and school.”
Caudill said his desire is to see the young people who participate in the fundraising effort to also do missions work.
“We would like to see students who give to Speed the Light also go on a short-term missions experience before they graduate from high school. My prayer is that the exposure to the mission field and God’s love for the lost would inspire and motivate them to live sacrificially, as well as, passionately pursue the call to missions,” he said.
“I look forward to hearing about students who gave financially as teenagers, and one day go to the field and receive a Speed the Light vehicle,” he added.