November 11-13 | MainStay Suites | Pigeon Forge, TN
More than 275 Free Will Baptist students, parents, and youth workers from 16 churches and four states gathered in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, November 11-13, for the 2016 Tennessee State Youth Retreat. The annual conference for students in grades seven through college
The retreat theme, “All In” explored the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20: all power, all nations, all people, Christ always with you. The retreat featured two excellent speakers this year:
Church planter Scott Warren (pictured below, with his family) and his wife Staci moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2006 to join the team starting Crosspoint Church. They met in living rooms and basements until they outgrew them, moved to another church’s facility for a time, and finally discovered a small building to purchase. Before long, their small building church was bursting at the seams, and in 2013, the church moved to a 10,000-square-foot building on one of the busiest intersections in the Salt Lake Valley. “God was so kind to us over the years, and we are grateful for his blessings at every turn,” Scott says. “During our time in Utah, we saw Him do incredible things as well over 100 people came to know Christ as Savior and followed him in baptism. Many of these people are still in the church family at CrossPoint and continue reaching into the Salt Lake City culture with the love of Christ. Currently, Scott pastors Union Grove Church, in Atkins, Arkansas. He and Staci have two children, Mia and Jude (pictured).
Jerry Gibbs and his wife Barbara (below) were appointed missionaries to France in August 1972. After fundraising and language school, they arrived in France in March of 1974 and spent four years working with the young people in the church at Rennes. After a short return to the States, the couple returned to France and started the St. Nazaire church, where they ministered more than 20 years before returning to the U.S. for a stateside assignment. The Gibbs have three sons: Marc, Joël, and Ryan.
Ryan Lewis, music director at Cofer’s Chapel FWB Church in Nashville, led students in worship throughout the weekend, with the help of Brandon Roysden, director of the V3 Conference (National Youth Conference). They combined age-old hymns with new praise songs coordinating with the conference theme.
Between sessions, students and youth workers enjoyed crazy game times, great food, and nearby attractions from hiking in the nearby Smoky Mountains to go-kart rides and shopping in local outlets. The hungry teens ended the memorable afternoon by devouring 75 extra-large pizzas in 15 minutes.
Just a few comments after the weekend was over:
- I was just thinking how well everyone was singing. Such a beautiful sound! —Sarah Marcum, North Carolina
- It was a great weekend! —Angie Edgmon, Tennessee
- You guys did an excellent job with the youth retreat this weekend. All our kids from Carthage First FWB had a awesome time worshiping and fellowshiping together. —Dwayne Barnes
The Christian Education Board encourages youth workers across the state to begin planning now to attend the 2017 retreat.