Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeAll The News“Make SOAR a Priority For You and Your Students”

“Make SOAR a Priority For You and Your Students”

SOAR 2023 is scheduled for July 3-5 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas. The conference will begin with Session 1 on July 3 at 7 p.m. Registration is $135 per person and the deadline is June 4. After June 4, the registration goes up to $150. SOAR rate for the hotel rooms is $139 per room if booked before June 10. To register and reserve rooms, go to soarconference.com. 

I recently reached out to those that have been working diligently to make SOAR 2023 the best one yet. Since the final “amen” of SOAR 2022 (and even before), there have been many people who have been involved in the various components it takes to make this year’s SOAR the best it can be. I asked each of those that will be speaking at this year’s conference or involved in some of the behind-the-scenes planning to answer a few questions to help you know more about what to expect. Here are their replies:

What do you see as the primary purpose of the SOAR conference?

• “SOAR is all about leading teenagers to learn God’s Word, love His church and live sold-out, radical lives for Christ. SOAR is not meant to be a destination, but rather a launching pad into a lifelong, mission-oriented relationship with Christ. God has revealed His amazing truth and agenda in His Word. Jesus established His church as the primary vehicle for His mission to be accomplished. The Holy Spirit empowers each follower of Christ to live like Christ in this world so that He will be magnified among all people and God will receive all glory. SOAR exists in order to proclaim this reality to teenagers and promote God’s invitation to join His unstoppable mission in the world.” — Chris Vines, Session 1 Speaker

• “SOAR is about challenging students in the Word through the main sessions and breakouts and bonding student groups together through shared experiences and fun.” — Stephen Castleberry, Session 2 Speaker

• “What I see as the primary purpose of SOAR is to encourage students in their faith. I also recognize that there are many students who attend SOAR who have yet to place their faith in Christ, and I have personally seen SOAR be that place where God draws them. There are other students who will attend and are deeply committed to Christ, and God may use SOAR as an avenue to call young people to ministry.” — Nathan Brewer, Session 3 Speaker

• “SOAR is an awesome opportunity for youth to take a few days out of their busy summer schedules to focus on the Lord and give Him a chance to speak to them in a powerful way.” — Jeremy Hambrice, Session 4 Speaker

• “The primary purpose of SOAR is to help students worship God in a relevant way as they join other believers their age. Seeing so many students who love Jesus is so beautiful to help them know they’re not alone. SOAR helps inspire them to walk with Jesus and make Him known in their everyday context. It’s also a great time for youth groups to connect as one and go deeper in their commitment to the Lord and one another.” — Drew Cline, Session 5 Speaker

• “The purpose of SOAR is to provide a fun getaway for youth groups all while pointing them to the importance of God’s church and the necessity to live a life committed to God’s kingdom. It’s a place where entertainment, worship and education about God’s Word all coincide for a great week.” — Preston Jones, SOAR Collective Worship Leader

Do you have a personal testimony of the SOAR conference’s impact on your life that you can share?

• “God used SOAR 2005 as a primary instrument to shape my understanding of His mission to save and secure people from every tribe, tongue and nation. For the first time in my life, I was made aware of the reality that my small church in Buckner, Arkansas was part of a global agenda initiated and sustained by the Jesus. The overwhelming sense of God’s love for a boy from small-town Arkansas has continued to this day. I’m very hopeful that He will continue to call young men and women in similar ways today through the means of SOAR.” — Chris Vines, Session 1 Speaker

• “I was only able to attend a couple of SOARs as a student but have experienced many as a student pastor. Seeing how God uses SOAR every year to bring students to Christ, how He calls some to ministry and seeing new friendships form are all things I look back on with joy.” — Stephen Castleberry, Session 2 Speaker

• “I was 16 when SOAR was held in St. Louis one year. I remember sitting in a McDonalds with my youth pastor following a session and sharing with him over a 10-piece (actually probably 20-piece) chicken nuggets meal that I believed God was calling me into the ministry. God used John David Smith, Adam Thomas and David Attebery (who was leading music) to share things that week that God later used to confirm my calling and passion to serve God’s people in the local church.” — Nathan Brewer, Session 3 Speaker

• “I did not grow up in the BMAA attending the SOAR conference, but I know people personally that have had the Lord speak powerfully to them as they attended. Many have come to Christ, many have grown in their relationship with Him and many have committed to the Lord in lifelong service as a result of attending.” — Jeremy Hambrice, Session 4 Speaker

• “I was at the very first SOAR conference, and the Lord has used SOAR countless times in my life as a student, a student pastor, a worship leader and now even as a pastor.” — Drew Cline, Session 5 Speaker

• “SOAR has impacted my life from a different perspective. I get to see the hard work and the behind-the-scenes commitment to making the conference the best it can be. To see the conference planned, built and then executed well by people who have a passion for the next generation, encourages me to be a harder worker for God’s kingdom.” — Preston Jones, SOAR Collective Worship Leader

When you think of SOAR 2023, what are you most excited about?

• “I’m very excited about our theme. We all love portraits of devotion. We gravitate toward stories that highlight people who devoted themselves to a cause and changed the world (or their small part of it) as a result. We naturally aspire to do similar things, but we are repeatedly confused about how to do it. I’m very excited that we get to see how Jesus brings us clarity as devoted followers of Him.” — Chris Vines, Session 1 Speaker

• “I get most excited about breakout sessions. Letting students feel the freedom to choose their own topics empowers them to take what they learn from breakouts and really process how to apply it to their own lives.” — Stephen Castleberry, Session 2 Speaker

• “I am very excited about SOAR 2023. Something that excites me is the opportunity to worship God and be in His Word with a room full of youth ministers and students who I believe desire to follow Jesus and worship Him. There are a lot of false and confusing things happening all around us, and I see a generation of students who are growing in wisdom to thwart those lies because of a commitment to God, His Word and His church. I get to spend a few days with those students and encourage them in their walk! I love SOAR and am so honored and thrilled to be part of it this year.” — Nathan Brewer, Session 3 Speaker

• “The theme of SOAR this year is ‘Devoted’ and is about being committed. I am looking forward to hearing from God’s Word about what He is committed to, then asking Him for help to align our lives among those things.” — Jeremy Hambrice, Session 4 Speaker

• “I most get excited about the potential of what can happen in the lives of students. Students will come to know Jesus, make commitments to follow Him, and surrender their lives to missions — there’s no limit to how God might use SOAR in the lives of these students and leaders.” — Drew Cline, Session 5 Speaker

• “What excites me most about this year’s SOAR is that it will be next level. I believe this year is going to go to the next level in several different ways. I’m excited about the one big family reunion that’s going to take place for a few days in Dallas.” — Preston Jones, SOAR Collective Worship Leader

If you were talking to someone who wasn’t sure about going to SOAR 2023, what would you tell them?

Go.” — Chris Vines, Session 1 Speaker

• “Students and parents of students, you will miss out if you are not at SOAR this year. SOAR is the perfect time to take the next step in your faith and connect with others in your church more deeply. Student leaders, God has called us to be devoted to Him — you know this, you teach it every week! If you’re on the fence about going to SOAR this year, you’re going to be missing a great opportunity to challenge your students at an event that thousands are praying over, missing a time to connect with other student workers just like you, and you’ll miss out on seeing all that God is up to in churches throughout the BMAA. I challenge you to make SOAR a priority for you and your students this year!” — Stephen Castleberry, Session 2 Speaker

• “I am a church planter, and most of our folks have no knowledge or experience with how great SOAR is. So, I get to explain to many folks what SOAR is like and invite many of them to come along. What I tell them is that jr. high and high school students are a vital part of our church body. I think it is necessary that we provide spaces for them that are centered around God’s Word and geared specifically for them, along with opportunities to have a ton of fun with one another and believers from all over the country.” — Nathan Brewer, Session 3 Speaker

• “I know summers are busy for everyone. Most of the time they are busy with things that just don’t last. SOAR is an opportunity for us to pause give God the space to speak to us, and then follow him as he leads. If you do that, I promise you won’t regret it!” — Jeremy Hambrice, Session 4 Speaker

• “I’m confident this year is going to be powerful. As we’ve been working hard to look at every aspect of SOAR the conference to make it the best that it can be! You don’t want to miss SOAR this year!” — Drew Cline, Session 5 Speaker

• “Not sure about going to SOAR? Give it a shot. Test it out. This is a place that has brought encouragement and refreshment to a lot of people. You could be that person who comes and has a great time fellowshipping with God’s people. This conference is intentionally planned to be the best for you!” — Preston Jones, SOAR Collective Worship Leader

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