By Aaron Petre, worship and youth pastor, 22nd Street Baptist Church, Tucson –
Our 2017 Illuminate Discipleship Conference was held last fall and was hosted by Mountain View Baptist Church in Tucson. This event is the yearly youth retreat planned and run by our Catalina Baptist Association Youth Leader Team for 6th-12th graders of Tucson area churches.
In 2017, we had eight churches attend, with over 100 students plus adults. Chad Murrell from Calvary Baptist Church, Lake Havasu City, was our main speaker and worship was led by the Aaron Petre Band.
Our theme this year was Relevant Reformation, in recognition of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Over two days, the students attended three main services, which focused on the 5 Solas to help them solidify their spiritual foundation.
They were also able to attend three of the five breakout classes that were offered: Missions changes your life, Jesus in the Old Testament, Biblical Theology: Part of a Big Plan, Christians and Social Media, and Battle for Your Mind: Are your emotions leading you or is Christ?
A big focus of this conference is spiritual growth; however, we also focus on building relationships between our churches. We play team-building games and encourage students to meet others they don’t know. Many of them go to different churches but the same schools. This event helps the youth know that they are not alone as they represent Christ in their schools.
Another goal is to keep the cost down for each student. We charge each attendee $30 to attend, which covers their meals, snacks and drinks. However, without the help of the Cooperative Program, this event could not happen each year. Our students are blessed by the generosity of the Arizona Southern Baptist churches who give to the CP, and, through the Illuminate Discipleship Conference, they had the opportunity to strengthen their walk with Christ and learn how to better be His disciples.