I recently had the privilege to speak at an event for FCA called “Fields of Faith” on the football field of a local high school. Fields of Faith is a student-led event where students invite, pray for, share with, and challenge their peers to read the Bible and follow Jesus Christ. My passion in life is to see the next generation come to behold the greatness of God and to use their lives for His glory, and I could not think of a better opportunity to put my passion into action than this event.

When A Message Doesn’t Go As Planned

Months of prayer went into this event, and l fought the temptation to dust off an old message from years of speaking to youth and firmly believed the Lord has directed what I was to share. So, the event came.  Students shared their testimonies, students sang, I was introduced, walked on to the platform and began to speak. As soon as I began to speak the rain started and did not let up. The band was moving their equipment behind me to get it out of the rain (apparently electronics and rain don’t mix well), people were finding umbrellas, and my mind is all over the place as people were noticeably distracted. I made it through, what I believed, was the worst message I have ever given.

Here are three profound reminders I took away from this experience:

God’s Word Never Fails to Accomplish Its Intended Purposes

The next morning, I received a text early from one of the coaches thanking me for the message to which I humbly responded that I felt I had bombed.  He shared with me that students gave their life to Christ that night and that many students were convicted to begin sharing the gospel with their friends.  I was blown away, but I shouldn’t have been.  God’s Word, even when just read, has the power to open the eyes of the blind and transform the hearts of people.  Students did not need perfectly polished exposition, but they need to encounter the triune God through the power of His Word. (Joshua 21:45; Luke 1:37; 2 Timothy 3:15)

God’s Power is Made Perfect in Our Weakness

I felt very weak distractedly standing in the rain with my bible and notes soaked.  I felt very weak on the ride home when I didn’t see hundreds of kids flood the end zone to give their life to Christ.  I felt very weak, but God’s power was put on display in a deep moment of weakness.  I can take zero credit for anything that happened that cold, rainy evening.  (1 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 12:9;

“God’s Word, even when just read, has the power to open the eyes of the blind and transform the hearts of people.”

God Alone Can Change the Hearts of Men

To be honest, I felt a lot of pressure because there is an expectation that students will accept Christ for the first time at these evangelistic events.  As a youth pastor, I stayed away from lengthy, emotional appeals or having youth “walk an aisle” or “raise their hand” or “ask Jesus into their heart”.  However, I have seen students’ lives powerfully changed by the gospel and the faithful teaching of the word of God. I have had a few students who have come to me recently to tell me the Lord saved them when I was teaching through a book of the Bible in Wednesday night youth group when they were in middle school and now they are in college. I had no clue this happened, but it proves that no pastor has the power to change a human heart. Heart change is left to the sovereign act of God. (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Jonah 2:9) I am extremely thankful for the lessons the Lord reminded me through that experience. Whether I get invited back or not does not matter, but what does matter is that students lives were changed through God’s Word and an weak man.

Authored by Justin Roper, Pastor at Charlotte Awake