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Well-known Conference Leader, Flora Pastor Headline 2021 Youth Evangelism Challenge at MC

Dr. Gary Permenter, a well-known evangelist and youth minister, will serve as a conference speaker at the 2021 Youth Evangelism Challenge Dec. 27-28 in the A.E. Wood Coliseum at Mississippi College.
Dr. Gary Permenter, a well-known evangelist and youth minister, will serve as a conference speaker at the 2021 Youth Evangelism Challenge Dec. 27-28 in the A.E. Wood Coliseum at Mississippi College.

Two of the most dynamic evangelists in the Christian faith and one of the most popular worship touring groups are scheduled to minister to hundreds of teenagers from across the state when Mississippi College hosts the 2021 Youth Evangelism Challenge Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 27-28, in the A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Clinton campus.

Dr. Gary Permenter, a well-known evangelist and youth minister, and Dr. Jon Daniels, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Flora, will serve as conference speakers at the event, while the Jason Lovins Band, a popular Christian music group, will headline a concert on Monday evening and lead each faith session in worship.

Dr. Evan Lenow, director of church and minister relations and director of event services at MC, said the Christian University has enjoyed a long association with the Mississippi Baptist Convention in supporting the event.

“Mississippi College has been the host location for Youth Evangelism Challenge for more than 40 years,” Lenow said. “Every winter, hundreds of students from Mississippi Baptist churches come together to be trained how to reach their classmates and community for Christ.

“This partnership with the Mississippi Baptist Convention demonstrates the heartbeat of MC – to be a Christ-centered university where students learn how to both live out and share their faith.”

The Mississippi Baptist Convention Board-sponsored event combines Scripture readings with worship music and evangelical presentations. The theme, “Can Do!” is taken from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Permenter said the theme for this year’s event fits perfectly with his presentation topic.

“I plan to speak generally on how God not only calls us to carry out His purposes for our lives, but also enables us to do so,” he said. “In whatever assignments God gives us, we can succeed, because He gives us the resources and abilities to do well.”

Permenter, a graduate of Mississippi State University who obtained his master’s degree and doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminar, said he enjoys being involved in ministry with teenagers because of the tremendous potential for impact.

“God always has accomplished great work through young people,” Permenter said. “This event is part of a comprehensive approach Mississippi Baptists have to help young people discover who God is, how He wants to use them, and how to fulfill God’s plans for their lives.”

Daniels said it’s important for him to participate in the Youth Evangelism Challenge because of the urgency of the days in which we are living. The theme of his presentation will be “I Can Because He Has.”

“Our enemy, Satan, is ramping up his attacks and assaults on God’s people everywhere we turn and every way imaginable,” Daniels said. “The Church must equip Christ-followers to stand against the enemy, and I believe this is especially true among middle school, high school, and college students.

“You can stand strong in the Lord because of what Jesus has done for you and how He has provided for you.”

Daniels earned his B.S. at MC and obtained his Master of Divinity and his Doctor of Ministry degrees at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. After four decades in the ministry, including 17 in student ministry, Daniels said he is convinced God wants to do a powerful work in and through students who will take seriously God’s call to live for Him and honor Him with their lives.

“Even though we are bombarded by bad news all the time, the good news of the Gospel has never changed and never will,” he said. “We must press on!”

The most important message Permenter would like attendees of the event to remember is the need to be engaged with our Creator.

“Only when we are right in the center of God’s plans for us will we experience genuine fulfillment and satisfaction,” he said. “Once Jesus saves an individual, He guides that person in great plans for service. The same God who used Abraham, David, Peter, and other great heroes commissions us to serve Him and gives us all that we need to impact others for His glory.

“I’m really looking forward to being a part of the two days and watching the results as teenagers mobilize themselves to serve in the world.”

On-site registration will take place at 1:30 p.m. Monday, with the event to continue through 9 p.m. The Youth Evangelism Challenge will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday and conclude at 12:30 p.m.

Registration costs $15 per student or $10 per student in advance. To preregister for the challenge, call the MBCB Evangelism Department at 601.292.3278, email or visit