Luke 14:23: “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
In the above verse, our Lord Jesus Christ told the reaction about a man’s reaction after his servants had invited a number of people to a big meal he was going to have. He heard the invited people had all refused, giving various excuses, such as recently getting married, business, or for some other reason. He replied that his servants should go out and compel other people to come and added that those who had already refused would not attend the meal.
In the same way, the Youth Department at Trinity Baptist Church has annually scheduled a STORM event (Sending Teens Out to Reach the Masses), where teens have gone out in vans, with an adult driver, and invited their friends to come back to church for various fun activities, a meal, and to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. This year’s event will be August 26 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Youth Pastor Chris Bowles said in previous years students have gone to their friends’ houses and invited them. He has since changed that so the students are picked up at their local schools. There is a competition to determine which school has the most students to attend.
Pastor Bowles has participated in the even as a youth pastor for 14 years–six of them at Trinity. He said the nationwide STORM event, with other churches also participating, used to be called a “Jalopy Raid.”
“You fill those cars with teens and bring them back,” Pastor Bowles explained. “You account for a lot of teenagers to get saved, and then you follow up with them afterwards.”
He said STORM usually has 100-150 teens, and a total of 180-200 people attending, counting adult workers. Because the event is the biggest evangelistic Youth Department of the year, Pastor Bowles said it usually leads to about a ten percent increase in attendance on a weekly basis. There are usually a number of people who make professions of faith.
The event will have inflatables, Connect 4 Basketball, funny videos, and games, and the gospel will be preached. Gifts will be given–including headphones and gift cards to local restaurants. The Youth Department annually accepts gift cards from members at Trinity to give out on the night.
Speaking will be Doctor Charles Ware, the former President of Crossroads Bible College. He has spoken around the world, including a Biblical Counseling Conference in Indiana.