Competition History

A Brief History of Free Will Baptist Competitive Activities and the Vertical Three Conference

The National Youth Conference is first mentioned in the Contact magazine report from the 1968 Free Will Baptist Convention that met in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The roots of the conference, however, can be traced to the Free Will Baptist League, which held its first nationwide conference and Bible competition in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1948.
The newly organized Church Training Service expanded the FWB League Sword Drill and Declamation competition in 1965 adding Bible Bowl and Bible Tic Tac Toe. The Music and Fine Arts Festival began in 1972. The goal of all of the activities was to train young people for Christian service, hence the name Church Training Service or CTS.
Much has changed over the years. In time CTS Board merged with the Sunday School Board, which eventually became known as Randall House Publications, current sponsor of the conference, now the Vertical Three Conference. Age-graded worship services have been added along with seminars and training.
The Truth & Peace Leadership Conference for high school students began in 1984, and alumni serve in various leadership capacities in national and state agencies, FWB colleges, and churches across the denomination.

Photo: Students and sponsors participate in Reach That Guy activities.
The National Youth Evangelistic Team (pioneered in Tennessee) began in 1987. Reach That Guy, now Reach The City outreach and service projects began in 1996 at the conference in Ft. Worth, Texas. The Vertical Three Conference has grown to be far more than just competition. But the purpose has not changed. Though few still call it CTS, the goal has always been and will continue to be training for ministry.
The programs and activities of the NYC are all geared to help young people discover their talents, develop their skills, and dedicate their hearts for faithful service to God.