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Breaking the (faith) barrier at Christian conferences

Oct 11, 2017 | Erin Ford

Conferences can easily be the highlight of the year. Dedicated time set apart to hear from God and grow in faith often produces growth, spiritual nourishment, and healthy challenge. ‘Mountain top’ experiences of faith are often associated with Christian conferences where students can feel a call from God to go on a missions trip, go into ministry, and some even experience God for the first time!

This fall, Power to Change – Students hosted eight fall conferences across Canada, with over 1,100 students in attendance. These weekend conferences were an opportunity for students to experience God through worship, learn from the Bible, develop new friendships, and have fun.

At Power to Change – Students, our desire for students is to experience God intimately throughout each moment of their year – not just during the ‘spiritual highs’ of a conference. How can a student know that God is walking with them throughout the challenges of school, pressures in friendships, or struggles in facing large life decisions?

A faith barrier

In order to help a student continue walking with God once the conference is over, we invite them to consider the steps of faith God is asking them to take in the power of the Holy Spirit. We also ask them to prayerfully consider which faith barriers may be standing in their way. A faith barrier is an opportunity to not only trust God with your heart, but also with your actions as you step out of your comfort zone and into what God is calling you to do.

Is there a sin you’re struggling with?

Who is someone God is asking you to share your faith with?

Maybe you need to trust God and go on a missions trip?

What is God inviting you to do or change?

Taking a step of faith doesn’t mean trying harder or being better; It’s not about guilting you into a particular action. A step of faith is rooted in knowing who God is and his deep love for you.

Photo by: Ben Ng

Students were invited to consider: what might you be treasuring more than Jesus that you need the courage to let go of? An example could be struggling to share your faith because you value too much how others may view you. Or loving the security and familiarity of sexual sin instead of engaging in the battle to strive for purity. We invite students to consider and write down a step of faith that God is calling them to do, in order to personalize what they’re learning and help them articulate where they are at in their faith journey.

The long term impact of breaking that faith barrier

The faith barrier invitation has become a well known moment during the fall retreats with Power to Change. More so than students may realize, God does work powerfully through what they write down on those pieces of paper. This year, story after story was told of how God spoke to and worked in the lives of countless students – pivotal moments that could be traced back to those faith barriers where they surrendered to God and said “yes!” to him.

“A faith barrier is an opportunity to not only trust God with your heart, but also with your actions as you step out of your comfort zone and into what God is calling you to do.”

One student shared how going on a mission trip that summer changed his life and how he viewed God. For years prior he was scared to make the jump to actually go on a missions trip, thinking he wasn’t good enough to be used by God. The previous year at the fall retreat, he wrote on his faith barrier card “go on a missions trip” – and then was invited to share that faith barrier with a friend. When he shared it with his friend he was held accountable to actually apply.

After going on the trip this summer he said, “I can’t believe what my life would be like if I never took that step to actually trust God and do something about it.”

There’s power in stepping outside of your comfort zone and trusting God to work through you. There’s power when you see the Holy Spirit work in your life.

Photo by: Deb Wong

What’s your barrier?

Perhaps there’s a step of faith that God is inviting you to trust him with. It could be surrendering a desire or plan for your life. It could be initiating a spiritual conversation with a friend. Or bringing someone to church.

What do you see God doing around you and how is the Holy Spirit prompting you to respond? Process it and write it down – then tell a friend. Pray for one another and listen and obey to the Holy Spirit as he invites you to know him more deeply as you take steps of faith.

About the Author

Erin Ford

Erin is passionate about helping people grow in their faith and discover God. You can read more of her writing on her website at erinwrites.ca.

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