Middle and high school-aged youth from various Lincoln County churches united to pray for local and national change Thursday on the front steps of the courthouse.
While vehicles and motorcycles buzzed past, students held hands and bowed their heads, asking God to give wisdom to leaders of the local school board and other county departments as well as federal authorities including the President and members of Congress. Students even prayed for personal friends and family members in need of healing.
The event was just one of the many daily “challenges” and activities that local youth group leaders asked the students to engage in during the week-long effort called “The Challenge.”
The purpose is to break down denominational lines among young believers and worship as one community.
“It’s just a bunch of believers coming together for a common goal,” local Youth Leader Brandon Tipton said.
During the special week, which commenced on Sunday, youth have been stepping up to the plate and taking on a variety of unique faith-based endeavors, some of which have required students carry their Bible for a day and meet and pray together in between classes and at their school’s individual flag poles. Perhaps, the students’ most difficult challenge of the week will be today — the day church leaders encouraged a 24-hour technology fast.
Youth leaders said the different acts encourage boldness among the youth and serve as signs to others that the students aren’t ashamed of their Christianity.
During the annual challenge effort, which Covenant Bible Youth Leader Aaron Grooms said has taken place across the county for at least the last 15 years, students also meet nightly at a different designated area church to participate in prayer, devotions, discussions, praise and worship, dramas and Biblical fellowship.
“We challenge our kids to walk out their faith,” Youth Leader Nate Wright, of First Wesleyan Church, said.
Grace Lowman, a 15-year-old North Lincoln High School student, said she wanted her actions to serve as a witnessing tool and prompt friends who may have driven by the prayer gathering to ask her questions later at school.
“If people ride by, someone’s bound to know us and will ask what in the world we’re doing,” she said, “and we’ll get to witness to them.”
The week’s final event meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Lincolnton Church of God. All area youth are welcome to attend.