Thousands of students from the Assemblies of God are in Charlotte, N.C., this week for a major youth convention, hoping to be "led by fire" and to go back to their homes without extinguishing that flame.
"This week we're on fire for God ... God's doing incredible things. Last month or the month before we were at youth camp. God impacted our lives ... but what about in between? Were you still led by fire or were you led back to sin?" Steve Pulis, national student outreach director for the Assemblies of God, posed to students Monday night.
"When the tough times come, too often it's hard for us to live out the commitment of being led by fire."
Over 10,000 students have gathered for Charlotte08 which is comprised of a Fine Arts Festival, Ambassadors in Mission outreach and other activities. Under the theme of "Led by Fire," students are encouraged to use their gifts to glorify God and to also join with other churches in the are to minister to the city of Charlotte.
"God wants more than just a Sunday morning in youth service commitment," Pulis told the young crowd. "There's more to the commitment of following Jesus than just asking for forgiveness.
"Making the commitment to follow him, well that's easy. But living the commitment? That's where the work comes in."
"God wants you to be led by fire all of your life," he stressed.
Organizers of Charlotte08 want this to be about more than an event. They want to see the younger generation discover their gifts and deploy those talents.
"God is raising up a generation of underdogs to be champions for Christ and this is our opportunity to be a part of His plan for each of their lives. This is our chance to challenge students and leaders to be led by fire," National Youth Director Jay Mooney told staff, according to the Assemblies of God News Service.
As for reaching out to Charlotte, Ambassadors in Mission is partnering with MEGA Sports Camp to use sports as an evangelism and discipleship tool to reach out to the city.
"Traditional church outreaches are not always the most effective in today's youth culture," said Jim Wellborn, national AIM liaison. "The training and curriculum provided by Mega Sports will greatly benefit the city of Charlotte while also giving our students the experience and confidence to bring similar, relevant outreaches back home to their local communities."
Last year, in Indianapolis, the Assemblies of God launched a major campus evangelism initiative, called Dreaming 2015, with the vision of reaching 1 million American teens and grafting them into a local church by 2015. Over 5,200 students were commissioned as missionaries to their campus.