Louisville’s Broadbent Arena was alive with music and laughter January 27-29 as it hosted Winter Blitz 2012.
The annual event, sponsored by the Kentucky Annual Conference Ministry with Young People, draws youth from around Kentucky as well as from nearby states. With a humble beginning in Owensboro, Ky. in 1994 of about 250 in attendance, this year’s event drew some 3,000 people to fill the arena. The program was incredible as they enjoyed the music of Nic Gonzales of Salvador and his wife, Jaci Velasquez; comedy and keynote address by The Skit Guys; and art by Joe Castillo.
“The people we had presenting at Winter Blitz this year were so good that we couldn’t fail,” said David Sparks, the Conference’s Associate Director of Connectional Ministries with Young People. “We got out of the way and let God use some incredible gifts in others.”
The Skit Guys used humor to bring a message about grace. Singers Gonzales and Velasquez led the crowd in praise music that brought the audience to their feet as they sang along. Castillo brought his SandStory, in which he draws with his hands in sand on a light table. His presentation demonstrated getting the word of Jesus out through art, and he described how he was able to use his work to communicate with people without speaking the same language.
Winter Blitz leaders gave young people a two-part commitment opportunity on Saturday night. They were invited to drop their baggage and follow Jesus, and those who had never made a commitment to Christ were invited to come forward. Several hundred people responded to this invitation. On Sunday morning, another couple of hundred young people responded to explore a call to Christian vocation, just before Bishop Lindsey Davis led a time of communion.
Helping others was a significant part of the weekend. An offering collected on Saturday evening raised $5,373.73 to support Imagine No Malaria, Honduras Outreach Inc., and Kentucky Conference camps.
On Saturday afternoon, 325 people gave up their free time to go into the community to serve at a number of mission facilities in and around the Louisville area. One group collected and delivered 150 coats for the Exit 0 Ministry. Others served at Portland Promise Center, cleaning the streets around the center and participating in a prayer walk through the neighborhood. One group helped pick up trash around a homeless camp. Cleaning up the Wesley Wear House and sorting shoes for Edge Outreach were among the other projects that were part of the Mission Excursion.
As part of the new outreach program called Mountain of Love, Winter Blitz attendees brought with them and donated items for a backpack program that feeds local elementary and middle school students. They collected enough food to feed 200 people for three weeks.
Music, fun, serving others, and drawing closer to Christ made this year’s Winter Blitz a wonderful time for the youth and leaders who participated. Be sure to mark your calendars and get your young people together for next year’s Winter Blitz, January 25-27, 2013.