Encouragers, volunteers from local churches, were on hand to pray with students following the program. (Tori J Norris | The Standard)
TORI NORRIS/ THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
The Butler County Community Youth Association held their 13th annual Back to School Bash Friday night at the Hank Williams Park.
Allen Stephenson, preacher at First Baptist Church of Georgiana, is the coordinator of the event. “We hold this event each year prior to school starting to send our children back to school strong,” said Stephenson. “If we are going to change the heart of our nation, it has to start with the young people. Only the Holy Spirit can bring unity.”
Volunteers from across the county assisted in preparing and serving 1200 hotdogs to area students.
Greenville, Georgiana and McKenzie’s football teams and cheerleaders were in attendance, as well as many other youth from across the county.
The Zone 4:12 band from Southside Baptist Church provided worship music for the students. This band is comprised of youth, grades seventh through twelfth, and they perform every Sunday night at Southside for their youth service.
Following the worship, former Auburn punter, Steven Clarke shared his testimony with those in attendance. “College hit me hard,” said Clarke. “I was no longer the best athlete on the team like I was in high school. The coaches were tough and made it hard on you too, so you would get better.”
He continued to share that he always put off reading the Bible in high school. When he got to college, the chaplain of the Auburn football team gave him a Bible that he still carries today.
“By reading the Bible, I was able to see what God was doing in my life. And there were three things that made me realize God was pressing into me and that I needed a relationship with Him.”
“First, when things get out of control, you have to realize you don’t control your life, God does,” said Clarke. “Next, is that nothing awakens you for your purpose of life until you experience death.”
He shared about close family and friends passing and how that affected him.
“Last, you can have everything you have ever wanted,” said Clarke. “But Life without God is nothing because you eventually have nothing at all.”
Herbert Brown, preacher at Southside Baptist Church, shared a message called “In it to Win it” with the crowd.
“I want us to look at how we win, not only on the field, but in life,” said Brown. “In order to win, we have to make the decision to win. Our attitude and actions begin in the mind. If you do not believe you are going to win, then you won’t win.”
The second step in winning is being determined to win.
“The saying is ‘there is no I in team,’” said Brown. “You have to hang in there and hang in there together. You have to have a desire to give it your all.”
The last step to win is to have discipline.
“You cannot go and break the rules,” said Brown. “If you do these three things, make a decision, be determined and have discipline, you will win and you will win with Jesus Christ by your side.”