By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
It has been 11 years since the first time members of the Marion Avenue Baptist Church who worked with teens worked to create an event to help young people understand the importance of the life in front of them and what God wanted them to do with their lives, thus forming the first Our Time Youth Conference.
The Rev. Joseph Brown, one of the founders of the event, said participants would be coming from several states, as well as at least 50 from Washington and many more from the county, for Our Time. He said the conference hopes to share with the next generation the responsibility it takes to step up and make the right choices, the right decisions in life, and to have the right vision for the future. He said that has been the purpose for the last 11 years.
?This year our theme is ?truth,?? Brown said. ?The only thing that we can pass to the next generation is truth. We believe if the next generation has truth, knowledge and information, they will be able to make wise decisions.?
The event will be held Thursday and Friday in the church. He said the event would include old-fashioned preaching, music, games, and giveaways as well as preaching and talent competitions.
Brown spoke of many of the things teens face today ? loneliness, addiction, peer pressure and other things that can influence their lives. He said many times teens can feel alone and not know what to do. The conference is meant to encourage the teens to ?take the high road? and arise and make something great of their lives. He said there would be many stories of people who have arisen and succeeded in life.
Each year the event brings about 700 young people from about 10 states around. Brown said teens from Washington are invited and several would be attending. He said the conference would have a lot of games and activities for the participants.
Pastors and youth workers from all around the Midwest would also be bringing young people to attend the conference.
?In addition to this, we have a fireworks show on April 26,? Brown said. ?The community will obviously see the fireworks. We will try to set those off about 9 p.m. That will be south of Elm Grove Cemetery.?
Brown said he would love for people to sit on their porches and watch the firework show. He stressed the show is being shot by a professional fireworks company and is similar to Independence Day displays. He said the company will have the show done by 10 p.m.
He said there would be a patriotic concert as well.
The conference starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Brown said there would be cars and buses all over around the downtown part of Washington.
The opening will be a multimedia presentation and two speakers, followed by the fireworks and concert.
On Friday, there will be a talent competition. Services start at 10 a.m., followed by activities in the afternoon.
?For us it is all about lifting up the name of Jesus Christ and giving them hope and vision for the future,? Brown said. ?We have a heart to try to keep kids off drugs, and to keep kids out of destructive lifestyles and keep them from heading toward anxiety, depression and suicide,?
The last service is at 5:30 p.m. Friday.