On March 1-3, our student ministry was a part of an event called DNOW (an abbreviation for Disciple Now). DNOW functions like a retreat, but it is all held locally. The event begins Friday evening and then ends at church on Sunday morning (except this year when untimely snow had us cut out the Sunday portion of our event!). The weekend consists of three sessions, each session has worship, led for the third time in a row, by Bryant Urich, followed by a teaching session. Our speaker this year was Donnie Smith, and each session taught revolved around our theme of FEARLESS. Our goal was that students would spend the weekend being challenged to be fearless followers of Christ. This is facilitated by following each session with small group questions that aid in fostering the thoughts and points of the previous session. One of the unique things about this event is that students are able to still “get away” from home through staying in host homes—shout out to the volunteers that allowed students to crash at their homes—you are a blessing! Throughout the weekend it stays incredibly busy and it is always a blast!
That is a quick overview of what our DNOW event looked like—but why do we do it?
DNOW’s purpose is to help students to:
1) Grow in their faith
Each DNOW, the youth pastors involved seek to pick a theme that they believe is relevant and beneficial to their groups of students at the time. The goal then, is that through the weekend they will begin to understand that concept and begin to apply it in their own life. We wanted students this year to understand that we often live our Christian lives afraid of the consequences of completely living it out in front of others. When we put that fear aside, and replace it with our faith in Christ students will begin to see other’s lives around them change. We wanted to show students what it means and what it would look like in their own personal context if they were to begin to set aside their fears!
2) See the church beyond their own group
Every year, this event involves other groups outside of our own. We did this year’s event alongside FBC O’Fallon (who hosted), FBC Lake St. Louis, and Calvary Chapel—Troy. We had around 175 students and over 200 people when including adult volunteers! Students are able to connect with other believers that may be in their neighborhoods and schools!
3) Reach their friends
We want the student ministry to exist as a tool that students can utilize to reach their friends that don’t know Christ. We want the gospel to be at the heart of what we do so we encourage students to invite their friends to DNOW—especially friends that would turn down the typical church invite—because we know they will have multiple instances of hearing the life-changing truth of the gospel!
DNOW is one of my favorite events of the year—it is awesome seeing so many students from our area gathered together, worshipping our Creator! We already set our dates for 2020—Feb. 28, 29, and March 1! You can already begin praying for the students that will be impacted through this event!