PORTSMOUTH, Ohio—When 400 teens and leaders from 19 churches converge in four locations, the result is one big multisite youth rally. The Ohio State Youth Committee, part of the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches, hosted the Saturate youth rally Sept. 21, with teens and leaders meeting at Grace Baptist Church in Canton, Northfield Baptist Church in Northfield, First Baptist Church in Bowling Green, and Temple Baptist Church in Portsmouth.
David Burman Jr., pastor of First Baptist Church in Niles and an Ohio State Youth Committee member, says, “One of the challenges in today’s youth ministry is dealing with the pressures of finances and time. Money is tight, and the schedule is tighter. This makes holding a single large youth rally for an entire state a difficult prospect, maybe too difficult these days. There are, however, many churches that do not a have full-time youth pastor who can greatly benefit from a state organized event or youth rally.”
The committee wanted to hold a statewide event for churches of all sizes while keeping costs low and drive times short. Their solution was to go multisite. The OARBC is blessed with excellent leaders and church facilities to make an event like this happen, Burman points out. “The key was going to be in the organization.”
Arriving at their chosen churches at 4:30 (churches were located in the north, south, east, and west of the state), high school students and their leaders registered for the 5:00 rally. Throughout the night they got a bigger-picture perspective of the evening as they viewed photos from each location to let them know “they were part of something even bigger than what was going on around them,” Burman says. “They were part of a statewide evening of teens looking to grow in their relationship to the Savior and live for Him.”
Jordan Patrick, youth pastor at Grace Baptist, says, “It was exciting to see so many different churches gather together for one purpose, not just in our location but all around the state. Often our youth groups can be self-focused, so it was helpful for them to interact with other groups and teens. Hopefully we can build on the momentum of this event and see it continue to grow in coming years.”
Speakers for the evening were Andrew Hedges at Temple Baptist, a family pastor in Dayton; Tony Raffa at First Baptist, a pastor in Pataskala; Chris Brown at Northfield Baptist, a former youth pastor and now director of techPartner; and Brian Hanson at Grace Baptist Church, a former youth pastor and author of Is This What I Signed Up For?
Forest Greetham, youth pastor at First Baptist Church, LaGrange, and an organizer of the North location (Northfield Baptist) says, “I was really pleased at the number of churches without full-time staff youth pastors that were able to take advantage of this event. It is one of the real successes of Saturate, to be able to assist our sister churches in their respective ministries. We realized that most churches with full-time youth pastors have a full calendar of activities, and while we were thrilled they would choose to come and make this rally a priority, we figured the greatest need we could meet would be to create something that a smaller church could utilize with minimal cost.”
Burman says, “The Ohio State Youth Committee is thankful for the way the Lord worked and directed through all the planning, and they are looking to add another site in 2014. Their prayer is that God will continue to use this event as churches of all sizes are looking to get involved and get Saturated on Sept. 20, 2014, and in the years to come!”