By: Janese Bennett
From January 30-February 1, 2015, a record breaking 3,162 young people gathered to attend Accelerant in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Anticipation was in the air as the streets were lined with people waiting for the doors to open. This year, worship was led by Christian bands Sidewalk Prophets and Desperation Band.
On Friday night, Dr. Sean McDowell challenged the crowd to become grounded in their faith in order to effectively share Christ amidst the current cultural and social revolution. The following day, McDowell tackled tough issues such as pornography, homosexuality, atheism and agnosticism.
In the closing session on Sunday morning, Dr. Mark Rutland called students to a life of holiness, “We can’t just seek the Holy Spirit for the gifts, but for the transformation on the inside.” Rutland explained that holiness begins with the Holy Spirit working from the inside, out. As we fall in love with Jesus and allow Him to work in our lives, His promise in Leviticus 19:1 “to be holy, because, I the Lord your God are holy” can be fulfilled.
From its beginnings in the late 90s, Accelerant (formerly Fire and Ice) has operated out of the generous support of volunteers who have given their time, vacations and finances in order for young people to have an opportunity to worship and grow in Christ. The idea for a winter youth conference began in the hearts of regional Discipleship Ministries Directors throughout the southeast, who joined together to implement their vision. Through various changes, including a name change, Accelerant continues to grow as a self-funded, volunteer-driven event.
Director Greg Amos is quick to share how the Holy Spirit has orchestrated Accelerant from the beginning, “The Holy Spirit guides us. One of the hardest things about ministry is to stay out of God’s way”. According to Amos, prayer is one of the key elements to Accelerant’s success. He recalls suicide attempts that were thwarted, multiple instances of healing, and divine connections.
As the doors close for Accelerant 2015, Amos and the Accelerant team begin plans for next year. It takes a lot of time, dedication, prayer and finances to make this conference possible, but the greatest reward is found in the lives that are changed and impacted for Christ.
To learn more about Accelerant, please visit www.AccelerantFire.com.