With the recent fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and surrounding areas, many were anxious about the effects on the winter student ministries event, Accelerant. However, attendance was high at the 20th anniversary of the annual event and the weekend was a major success, despite the physical damage done to the area.
Accelerant kicked off on the morning of Friday, January 27th with close to three thousand students and leaders flooding the Gatlinburg Convention Center, neon watches with the Accelerant logo waving in the air as the Matt Bartlett Band led the arena in worship. Guest speaker, Preston Centuolo, immediately connected with the crowd and attendees were attentive as Centuolo spoke honestly and sincerely about believing in the future that God has for you, despite what the world may say.
Friday evening opened with a special presentation honoring David Richardson for serving on the Accelerant board for 13 years. The Matt Bartlett Band then led attendees in a worship set, followed by a short intermission before comedian John Crist took the stage and kept everyone roaring with laughter for the rest of the evening.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early with the Youth Pastor’s Breakfast, where Preston Centuolo spoke directly to the youth pastors and leaders present. The morning service started quickly after, where Preston continued his heartfelt message to the students.
Saturday night Student Ministries team leader Stephen Jones shared about Royal Home Ministries, the Project Offering for Accelerant and YouthQuest. Attendees quickly got behind the project, raising $10,000 for Royal Home Ministries. If you would like more information about RHM project visit: http://iphc.org/youthquest/projec/. After another amazing worship set with Matt Bartlett, Reggie Dabbs led hundreds of students to the altar to receive freedom from suicidal thoughts and addictions. One student came forward to share the story of her miraculous healing from scoliosis during worship.
Sunday morning saw the final service for Accelerant 2017, with Reggie Dabbs sharing his testimony before students began the journey home. We look forward to next year’s Accelerant, January 26-28, 2018. If you have a story you would like to share from this year’s event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.