From December 27-31, 650 college students from 25 campuses across the southeast flocked to Jacksonville, FL, for 5 days and 4 nights of what we call the JAX 2013 Conference. These students took time out from their Christmas Break to enjoy teaching, worship, fun, and friendship together with others from their campuses. The conference is designed to help students at all stages of a relationship with God from those who have just begun investigating Jesus over the past semester to those who are desiring to learn how to minister to others. The theme of the conference centered around the idea of “think big, start small, and go deep.” We chose this because it is what we see God calling Christians to do with their life and because it is the desired focus of our Campus Outreach ministries on the campus. Keynote speakers Leonce Crump and Randy Pope first challenged us not to be afraid to think and dream big with God in our lives and with what God could do through our lives. Secondly, they showed us how small steps of obedience in walking with God and reaching out to others can result in lives of fruitfulness. Lastly, they encouraged us to go deep in our relationship with God and in relationships with others by investing in things that matter.
Outside of our big rallies, we enjoyed seminars on topics like healthy relationships, leadership, freedom in Christ, prayer, and knowing God’s will. We also spent plenty of time having fun through basketball and dodgeball tournaments, exploring the city, a hip hop concert, and a crazy dance party.
As a staff member who spends much of his year planning such a huge event, it was rewarding to read some student evaluations on what they took away from their week:
-That God is great, and by accepting him, I am not losing anything but gaining everything. -We are here to know Him and make Him known. -The fact that we are not obligated to do anything to try and please The Lord in order to acquire his approval. -Community is imperative for spiritual growth. -I learned a lot about witnessing and starting small, because starting small is what it takes to invest in someone's spiritual life. -I'm motivated even more to disciple to people, something I was nervous about before.
Praise God for another fruitful and glorifying conference! Here is a video recap and a link to resources from the conference: www.jax2013.com
- Mike Meisenheimer