I am excited to have the opportunity to be sharing with you about Open Doors Fortify and what God has been doing through students as they are impacted by the stories of their brothers and sisters living under persecution. This past weekend, we were in Pigeon Forge, TN where close to 9,000 youth pastors and students gathered for the Strength to Stand Conference (STS) hosted by Scott Dawson Evangelical Association (SDEA). The conference is designed to challenge students to go beyond the surface of casual Christianity and foster a lifetime commitment to Jesus Christ. Attending this conference and watching hundreds of students come forward to make a commitment reminded me of my own time in high school when I began to truly understand what it means to be a Christ follower. I found myself praying, “Lord, protect these decisions as there is still a battle for these students’ hearts!”
As the College & Youth Director, my passion is to share the message of persecuted Christians with the next generation as I believe they will be both challenged and encouraged in their own faith. I named the student ministry Open Doors Fortify, inspired by our ministry’s foundational verse, Revelation 3:2: “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.” My heart is to see students, like those in attendance this weekend, not only help strengthen their persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe, but also be a catalyst to bring revival and strength to the church here in America.
Partnering with organizations like SDEA, we are given the opportunity to share the message of the persecuted church and invite students to join us in “strengthening what remains.” This year Scott Dawson challenged the attendees to support their brothers and sisters by giving of their own money. Between the two STS events, $25K was collected! The money raised will directly impact students in the Middle East; students giving to help other students! One young girl came up to our table and said she had not gotten her money into the donation, but she wanted to be sure the money went to those students in need; she handed me $1.50. It touched my heart to see these small gifts brought together to make a huge impact. My heart is overjoyed, and I can’t wait to see what else God will do through Open Doors Fortify!
Open Doors Fortify: We are a community responding to the cry of the Persecuted Church. We are a voice united in telling their story and standing with them through prayer and advocacy. As they suffer for the sake of the gospel, we strive to follow their lead in unashamedly sharing our faith with those around us, refusing to give up in freedom what they, our brothers and sisters, are not willing to give up under persecution. We choose to live our lives in such a way that we may strengthen what remains.
I would love for you to join us!
By College & Youth Director