In a frank talk with students at Momentum Youth Conference on Saturday night, Jeff Bogue challenged them to be resolved to follow Jesus, no matter what the cost.
The closing session of the conference was held in the Chapel Auditorium on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind.
“My fear for you is you can’t take a hit,” he said, as he described watching determined athletes bounce back after being hit in competition.
“The biggest lie that is being talked to you about Jesus today, is that Jesus’ primary goal in your life is for you to be happy,” said Jeff, who serves as senior pastor at Grace Church, Akron, Ohio. “It never worked that way in the scriptures. The disciples all died for their faith. Jesus, he never was prosperous and healthy.”
He stressed that they will leave the conference and return to the real world. “It’s not real life here,” he said. “We have to go back to real life. It’s not going to be awesome.”
Speaking honestly about his own life, he said there were times when he wished he didn’t have a call to ministry. “I love my job, yet I hate my job,” he stressed.
“I’ve been a pastor for 25 years,” he said. “I would highly encourage you, if you can do anything else with your life besides full-time ministry, you do that. If you can’t take a hit. Don’t become a pastor.”
At the same time, he encouraged the students. “It will be the best thing you’ve ever done in your life and you’ll want to quit every day. It will give you courage and you’ll want to run away.
Being resolved will cost you your life and give you your soul.”
He had the students turn to Philippians 3:1-4:1. “Spend time in the revelation of God,” he said. “Ask God to bring those words off the pages and into your soul. Pray to Jesus and see what he says. Ask yourself, I want you to personally, ask yourself am I signing up for this? If you’re not, that’s fine. If you are, you’d better be willing to take a hit.”
After about five minutes of silent reflection, he asked those who wanted to publicly announce that they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior to come forward. He waited as about 20 students made their way to the front of the stage.
He commended them for their bravery. “The church of Jesus Christ is built off the bravery of the men and women of god. God loves you, he forgives you of your sin and I believe he’s proud of you,” he said.
He asked that if there were those in the audience, who were followers of Jesus, but knew they had a sin hindering them, to stand. Students stood throughout the room and he encouraged them to seek out a youth leader later to publicly confess that sin.
Finally, he asked those who felt a call to full-time vocational ministry to make their way to the platform and fill the risers there that had held the choir earlier in the program. Several hundred made their way to the stage, overflowing the risers.
Then, almost as an afterthought, he said, “Pastors, directors, if God has renewed your call to ministry, come up here, stand beside me. You stand with me. I’ll stand with you.”
About a dozen adults made their way to stand next to Jeff.
Throughout that time, there was silence. He encouraged students to listen to the voice of the spirit, one time even suggesting that if an individual felt coerced in any way, to not come forward.
The evening was the closing session of Momentum Youth Conference. It had been a week in which students had been challenged to think outside of themselves, to serve others, and to be resolved to follow Jesus.
Next year, Momentum returns to Indiana Wesleyan in Marion, Ind. The conference will be held July 16-21, 2019.