We’re only in our second full day of Operation Barnabas Orientation and already the Lord is doing amazing things!  One of our OBers was blessed and used in the amazing opportunity to pray with a young lady to receive Christ tonight!  All Glory to Him and what an incredible way to start any ministry training experience!  Pray for Jenna as she continues down the path of sanctification in the new heavenly Father that she has accepted today!

Orientation today began with exercise, devotions, and showers.  When we got back, students ate breakfast and began the first scheduled hour with God that they will be spending each day with God this summer.  We want to introduce to these kids our responsibility in worship and in gratefulness for grace to spend time with our Creator every day we breath.  The Word of God is life-giving and convicts and encourages us to fuller worship Jesus and clarifies daily our purpose on this earth as guided by the Holy Spirit.  Excited to see students beginning to wet their palettes (as Alex would say) for the power of Scripture in their lives.

After an hour with God, guys had time to work on their sermons that they will be giving this summer and the girls worked on their children’s stories.  Leaders were available to help in any way the kids needed.  After this prep time Ed Lewis shared some more outreach training on how to start conversations with the intention of sharing the Gospel.

We then ate lunch and had some more opportunities to love on Grace Church at Powell through some maintenance projects.  After “Opportunities,” we sent the kids back to outreach training with Ed, this time with the focus on methods to sharing the Gospel and learning the Cross Illustration!  After learning how to minister in our words (and through a single ripped piece of paper :)) we got a chance to practice and minister through choir practice.

This practice was followed by more sermon/story prep and ended with the introduction of speech choir.  Speech choir is compilation of verses set and assigned to different sections of our choir in solos and group readings to dramatically present the Gospel and the life of Jesus.  Students seemed WAY pumped to have the opportunity to begin learning these heart penetrating excerpts from Scripture and to be a part of yet another piece of OB tradition.

Dinner tonight was provided, again, by Grace Church at Powell.  WE CAN’T SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH! Students had an opportunity to eat hot dogs and watermelon out in the sun while getting to meet members of the church and youth group.  Remember, one of our goals for OB and for our lives is to have a heart for encouraging believers, conversation with this church over a meal is just one way to express that heart developing in fellowship.  Students continued their outreach training with volunteers from the church and the youth group who role played non-believers so OBers could have some “hands on” experience with the methods of ministry they have been learning.

After outreach (this is where Jenna, a girl visiting the youth group for the first time, came to know the Lord) we had some more choir practice, snack on the run, and then challenge hour.  Hearts were convicted and forgiven tonight in our OBers lives during Ed’s challenge on hearth searching.

We want the Gospel to be real in our students lives before they go out and share it with anyone else, otherwise they’re selling it.  Barnabas isn’t about behavior modification, it’s not about playing a part, it’s about messy lives saved by the Gospel learning to communicate and initiate the conversation that brought them to the saving Grace of Jesus.

Pray for continued vulnerability and protection from the lies of the enemy as these students continue to press outside of their comfort zones to rely on our Lord.  He’s doing great things and we want to see our kids open themselves up to this opportunity to be real with the Lord, with their leaders, and with other students, not shut down.  All of these are crucial, biblical steps to understanding the concept of grace!

Alex Z., Hayley N., and Karli F. getting to know each other before a session.

Caroline S., Hannah-Catherine S., and Courtney P. share their children stories with each other.

Jacob C., Josh W., and Stephen Y. practice their sermons with an OB leader, Josh Hamrick.

The students are excited to learn more about evangelism from Ed Lewis!

Students learn the cross-illustration with Sarah Knepper.

Stephen A. and Nick W. practice the cross-illustration together.

Kaley T., Hannah-Catherine S., Sarah L., Cari O., and Jamie T. enjoy dinner outside with OB leader, Ashton Rank.

Emily B. and Marcelo V. share the cross-illustration with a friend from the Powell youth group.

Jessie B. made a new friend from the Powell youth group tonight.

Students beautifully, loudly, and joyfully sing their choir songs.