By Lainee Pegelow
As Christian Challenge AZ pursues its mission of engaging college students with the gospel, a team of campus missionary staff was tasked to organize and host a collegiate evangelism conference. On Oct. 21, 2017, an evangelism event named Proclaim was held.
Early that Saturday morning about 120 college students and leaders from Challenge chapters around the state and several local Southern Baptist churches met at Mercy Hill Church in downtown Phoenix for a day of worship through studying God’s Word, prayer, music and breakout groups.
Dennis Pethers, founder of The Rooftop, shared in two sessions his passion and challenge for college students sharing the gospel. The Rooftop ministry helps churches around the world discover God’s passion for people beyond the walls of the church and encourages believers to “Join Jesus in His Mission.” Pethers’ insights on living in a post-evangelical nation impacted those in attendance.
Along with two main sessions, the event included breakout session opportunities throughout the day. Topics included The Gospel for the Vulnerable: Blessed are the Poor, Defending the Faith in a Post-Christian Context, Relational Evangelism — Reaching Friends & Family, Living in the Tension: Making space for God in difficult relationships, and Engaging in Crosscultural Evangelism.
When asked what impact Proclaim had on him, Ky Pawlak, a freshman at Northern Arizona University, said, “One of the things I loved the most was how all of the Arizona Challenge chapters were there. We go to worship God, and be strengthened in our faith together! It really showed a bit of the unity we have with our Challenge groups.”
Danielle DeMarco, a junior also at Northern Arizona University was passionate when she said, “I really enjoyed that we learned evangelism strategies for super-relevant situations and that the first step was always putting yourself out there to love people.”
It’s the prayer of Challenge AZ staff that college students across the state are given the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel. With that goal in mind, the staff desires that all students involved in the ministry will be trained in evangelism and empowered to share their faith on their campus and in their area of influence.
In the future, Proclaim will occur every other year, providing training, encouragement and challenge for college students to share their faith and grow God’s kingdom.