More than 5,000 were challenged to follow Christ during the church’s international youth conference. Follow12 was held December 28-30 in Louisville, Ky. According to Dr. Jim Dunn, “God does amazing things at these events, and Follow12 was no exception. What we witnessed was a testimony to the vibrant future of The Wesleyan Church.”

In the Friday night rally, John Vermilya, of Kingdom Building Ministries, gave an evangelistic message. It was an incredible moment when 630 students stood proclaiming they wanted to know Jesus personally and then prayed to receive him.

The next day, Blanca Reyes, of Group 1 Crew, told her story which resonated powerfully, reminding us of God’s great love and causing our love for him to grow also. Troy Evans, lead pastor of “The Edge” in Grand Rapids, Mich., gave an invitation in the evening for students to “put their trust in God and let go of past hurts, sins, and questions.” Over 780 students responded to this call to trust God, be healed, and find new hope.

A massive student response followed the message on Sunday morning. The lead pastor at “Celebrate” in Sioux Falls, S. D., Rev. Keith Loy focused on the purpose of life and presented an opportunity to “leave the old life behind” and step forward into God’s plan. This was acted out as students received keys and were invited to walk through a door up front. In a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit, over 2,500 people responded to God’s call on their lives and streamed through the open door.

Derik Idol, a youth pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Ga., focused the closing message on empowering teens to begin a movement by being Jesus-followers. “Don’t worry about being a leader,” said Idol. “If you follow Jesus closely, a line will form behind you. Start a movement, lead, and make a difference by following Jesus.”

More than $25,000 was raised to fight human trafficking and support student ministries. More than 100 church youth groups committed to ongoing projects and service for various ministries to impact their communities. Dozens of daily breakout sessions brought practical spiritual formation and ministry training and 90 percent of the participants attended these. Students broadened relationships and met new friends through games and concerts featuring Christian artists like Fireflight and Jamie Grace.

While salvation is a free gift, Jesus makes it clear that following after him will be costly. We also strove to answer the questions, “Just who is this Jesus that he can make these demands on my life?” and “Why would I abandon all to follow him?” We hoped to move students to know, love, trust, and follow Jesus with their entire being. Praise God, we saw thousands of these life-changing choices being made.

Photo of Dr. Jo Anne Lyon courtesy of 

Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, prays during Follow '12.