Emily M. Hobbs Staff Writer
January 2, 2014
It is time to Rise Up and Renew, and Christians in the area will have a chance to unite and join together in Clinton on Jan. 25 for an event that organizers expect will sell out the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center. Starting with a seed that was planted in 2008, the event has carried on, with this year as the third year.
“It started when I went to a Christian conference in Charlotte,” says Becky Spell of Tim’s Gift Inc. It was after that she knew the community needed something like that conference in Clinton, and so, with a step of faith, she started to plan a conference that is designed to reach out into the community and touch lives.
“The first year we had great community support,” said Spell in and interview on Tuesday. “God was telling me to fill up that place for me.” That place, the Expo Center, will hold the kind of crowd that Spell is hoping the event will draw this year. Each year the conference has a different theme, with the first year being Rise Up, Recount Love. Last year the conference was called Rise Up, Reach Out.
“This conference is needed for such a time as this,” said Spell. She said that God is choosing to ordinary people to rise up for him, just as He chose queen Esther. Spell wants people to come out and take this opportunity to renew their relationship with God and their loved ones, particularly to strengthen their family.
“Last year, after the conference, I was so tired, and at the time I felt I didn’t want to do it again,” said Spell. “But I realized a lot of people are tired and need to be renewed.” Spell realized that she was not the only one feeling the weight of everything going on in the world, and she looked to her faith to give her the strength to continue on, even in such a time as this.
She continued moving on forward, and in Oct. 2013 during morning prayer, the door opened at Tim’s Gift, and Spell says a blind woman and her husband came in. The explained to her that they were looking for the Rise Up conference, and how they could get in contact with the preacher from the last conference, Tyler Jernigan. Spell knew right then that God was sending her a message, a message and reminder about how God works.
Right before this couple came into the Tim’s Gift that usual Oct. day, Spell and her prayer companions had been praying about this conference, and she her concerns about the event. The couple told her that they had been there a few times and had come from Fayetteville, and that they had not been able to get in touch with anyone about the conference.
“This was a reminder that God has things in line for an awesome Christian conference,” said Spell. This year the conference is going to have a special emphasis on men in the community.
“God is calling men to come forth in the community,” said Spell. “We have everything in Clinton to have a great revival.”
Four men are scheduled to speak at the Jan. 25 conference, one of which has written a book called “The God Diagnosis” which will be available during the event. The author, Dr. Greg Viehman, is from Wilmington, and he will be on hand for a book signing. The Rev. Tyler Jernigan, Darrell DeVane, and Chris Embler will all be speaking at the conference.
The doors for the conference will open at 8:30 a.m. and the event is slated to start at 9 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. There will be a morning session from 9 a.m. to noon and an afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with an hour to break for lunch. Churches, civic groups, individuals, or businesses are all encouraged to come and set up as a vendor. There will be shopping and food available as well.
“There will be a special session for children from 10 a.m. to noon on that day as well,” Spell added. During the entire conference there will be a prayer room open for prayer, and Eleanor Bradshaw will be there to pray with anyone that needs prayer.
“Prayer warriors will be there for anyone that needs prayer,” said Spell. The event is free of charge, but tickets will be available for 500 people. Ticket holders will be able to participate in drawings that will be held every hour. Spell says that there will be room for up to 600.
“We want to sell out,” said Spell. Donations are appreciated and there will be a love offering collected at the end of the day. Gift baskets will be raffled off.
“Our goal is to embrace that the time has come to unite as Christians,” said Spell. “This is for all brothers and sisters, and children of all ages, a chance for Christians to fellowship and be renewed and revived.”
Church groups and anyone needing tickets can stop by Tim’s Gift or The Learning Station, or call and make arrangements to receive them.
For more information about the conference, or to get tickets, please call 910-592-1126. To find out more about becoming a vendor call Denise Scronce at 910-592-4820.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org