WOODBRIDGE, Va.— Thousands of youth from churches in the Washington, DC metro area gathered this weekend to learn about 'making disciples who make disciples.'
Known as "Reverse" and sponsored by Dare 2 Share Ministries, the event reaches out to teenagers to equip them to evangelize.
Held at the Hylton Memorial Chapel from Friday evening to Saturday evening, Dare 2 Share partnered with Compassion International and Colorado Christian University among others to bring the event to an estimated 3,000 attendees.
Compassion and Colorado Christian both held booths at the narthex of Hylton Memorial, along with others connected to Dare 2 Share.
Cheryl Stark of Compassion International told The Christian Post that for her, organization Reverse was "a great, great ministry opportunity."
"We've got 3,000 kids in there who are on fire for Jesus. Some of them don't know Jesus and tonight or tomorrow night they're going to hear the Gospel for the first time," said Cheryl.
"And hopefully, it's going to change their lives in a way they never imagined when they stepped through those doors."
Stark also told CP that she and other members of Compassion International have "been to events like this and kids are changed."
"They can't help but be changed," added Stark, whose organization signed up several youth during the conference to help sponsor disadvantaged children abroad.
Doors opened at Hylton Memorial at 6:30 p.m., with the opening session beginning at 7:30 p.m. with a video promo and assorted musical performances.
Zane Black, speaker touring with Dare 2 Share and member of the evangelical group Torchbearers International, gave the opening remarks.
The jeans-wearing contemporary Black spoke to the largely teenage audience about his experience as a 13-year-old with his first dirt bike. The humorous story concluded with Black crashing the bike into a tree after having narrowly avoided riding it off of a cliff.
"There was no reason why I should have been on a bike that big … I was just a little kid," said Black to those gathered.
"I think God likes to display His power in those situations," added Black, citing biblical examples such as a teenage David standing up to Goliath.
Baylee Rogelstad of Colorado Christian University manned one of the private academic institute's booths at the narthex as the session continued inside the sanctuary.
Rogelstad explained to CP about the connection Colorado Christian had with Dare 2 Share Ministries and its touring conference.
"Colorado Christian University is partnered with Dare 2 Share and so we work in the admissions office there and we just come to every Dare 2 Share conference and set up a booth," said Rogelstad.
Rogelstad described Reverse as "a really positive and encouraging environment" that makes youth feel "welcomed."
"They are our next generation of leaders and so might as well equip them while they are young because this is kind of the age where you know they'll learn all of that and grow," said Rogelstad.
The biblical theme for Reverse was the Book of Daniel, with a focus on how Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego dealt with the pagan Babylonian culture they were enslaved in.
A recurring focus of the conference was drawing a parallel between these servants of God in a hostile land to the teenagers present, and the at-times hostile mainstream American culture.
In addition to Black, other featured speakers and performers included Greg Stier, author and head of Dare 2 Share; Propaganda, a Los Angeles-based artist and speaker; the Colorado-based musical group Desperation Band; and abuse survivor and Compassion International child sponsor Katie Payne.