On Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, First Priority Greater Birmingham held its 14th Annual Leader’s Summit at Valleydale Church. The Summit is a high-impact, one-day conference that features live music and inspirational messages geared toward highly motivated student leaders and teacher sponsors involved in First Priority campus clubs. This year’s conference focus was “Truth or Dare” where students were challenged to share the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Over 500 students, teachers, youth leaders, parents and volunteers from nearly 50 middle and high schools across Central Alabama attended this year’s event. Local school boards of education continue to endorse the program, allowing a group of students to attend during the school day and count the event as a field trip. Superintendents continue to excuse First Priority students and teacher sponsors to attend because they see the value in this type of leadership training event. They also witness the positive impact it makes on students’ lives.
Praise and worship was led by Jeremy Moore who shared a testimony about when he was a First Priority student leader at his school several years ago and how much he enjoyed attending Leader’s Summit. To correspond with this year’s theme, each student in attendance received a First Priority Bible that includes the following inserts: Plan of Salvation, Campus Prayer Guide, First Priority Club Leader Guide, HOPE Cycle, New Believer Bible Study, and Gospel Bible Study. Our keynote speaker, First Priority South Florida Executive Director Chris Lane, used these inserts during his training. Chris inspired students to share the hope they have in Jesus with their peers and that as campus missionaries there needs to be a sense of urgency. He shared from Mark 2 about the paralyzed man who was brought to Jesus by the faith of his four friends that would stop at nothing including digging a hole in the roof just to lay him before Jesus. Their faith got Jesus’ attention and the man was forgiven and healed. The crowd was shocked and amazed. The story concluded with Mark 2:12b, “We have never seen anything like this!” Wouldn’t it be incredible if that is what this generation would see in their school this year? “Wow, God saved my friend and did the miraculous! Revival has fallen and changed my campus! Look what God did; we have never seen anything like this!” Chris wrapped up his sessions by having the students gather in groups to pray specifically for their campus. It was a powerful moment to see students truly broken over the needs of their school.
This year, students witnessed a sample First Priority club meeting led by student leaders, their teacher sponsor and campus coach. Our goal with the sample meeting was to demonstrate the correct way to hold a First Priority club meeting. Also, during this time, First Priority’s Debi DeBoer and James Cato discussed how the power of multiplication can happen in students’ clubs if they will invite and invest in others.
Students then enjoyed lunch from Chick-fil-A. After lunch, students were challenged to have a plan in place to reach their campus effectively. Debi and James led an intense training on our HOPE strategy, a 4-week cycle that is repeated every month. Students were given a comprehensive plan they can use along with tools to reach their campus on a larger scale. To conclude the day, First Priority’s Ory Hampton dared students to reach their campus with the great commission and read from Matthew 28:19-20. Students left enthusiastic and ready to reach their campus for Christ!
“This year’s Summit gave the students many ideas on how to lead the club, reinforced that the students must lead (not the adults), empowered them to step up and be the ones to change their school, and gave the leaders a chance to get to know each other better (away from school).”
– Gail, Campus Coach
“The Leader’s Summit is valuable not only to me, but my co-sponsor and student leaders. The Summit is encouraging and powerful for all of my students, but particularly informative for the new leaders.”
– Kathryn, Teacher Sponsor
“We loved receiving the Bible and having several different speakers instead of just one. We loved the band, the club training sessions, and the tips on how to bring more students into the club. We loved the prayer time and being guided to pray for specific things.”
– Group of First Priority Student Leaders
Special thanks to our wonderful sponsor: Chick-fil-A!