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Unite set for October 18

September 3, 2014

By J. Blake Ragsdale

Residents of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) and youth from surrounding churches came together last year for Unite, a first-year event focused on evangelism, music and fellowship. Excitement is now building for Unite 2014, which takes place on Saturday, October 18 at BCH’s Mills Home in Thomasville.

Much of the enthusiasm for the free event centers on this year’s featured speaker Jonathan Evans, chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys and former NFL player.

“Our children are our future, and it’s important for God’s people to step in with His power to help guide them and families towards Christ,” Evans says. “We need to encourage them to move from where they are to where God desires them to be.”

Evans is the son of Dr. Tony Evans, renowned evangelical leader from Dallas, TX. In addition to his duties as chaplain, the former fullback speaks at numerous events and is passionate about mentoring youth in his home church. Evans will have the opportunity to bring that passion to middle and high school-aged youth attending Unite.

“Hope is critical for young people. If you lose hope you’ve lost a lot,” Evans explains. “Providing them hope through God’s word and through Jesus Christ is the most important thing they could experience at Unite.”

Unite’s mission is to bring youth, churches and the community together for the cause of Christ. “It’s not about sameness of person, but sameness of purpose,” Evans explains. “God makes Himself evident through unity. The bible talks about the oneness of the body of Christ and the importance of every piece of the body.”

Evans is not the only new participant at this year’s event. Joining him is Flame of God, a North Carolina-based Christian rap artist, singer; author Roberta Brunck, a former BCH resident; and Liberty University’s S.O.A.R. Dunk, an acrobatic basketball team.

Awestruck, the contemporary worship band from Awestruck Church in Gibsonville, is returning to this year’s Unite. The group became involved with BCH when singer/songwriter Tyler Ricketts, who serves as Worship Pastor for Awestruck Church, reached out to the Children’s Homes in 2013.

“Awestruck’s desire to use their talents to impact the lives of BCH’s boys and girls made Unite possible,” says BCH’s Tabitha Ward who coordinates the event. “They’ve been a sparkplug that has allowed us to bring so many others together to share God’s love with our residents and youth in the community.”

Unite begins at 12:30 p.m. with free food, inflatable games and other activities. A dodgeball tourney for groups that have pre-registered also begins at 12:30. S.O.A.R. Dunk performs at 2:45. The food area and all other activities end at 3:00 for the start of the main program.

Despite rainy conditions, 900 youth and adults attended Unite last year. At the end of the event, 51 middle school and high school students, including a number of BCH’s boys and girls, made decisions for Christ. Ward is hopeful for even greater results this year. The planning team, which has been meeting since early 2014, is encouraging churches and their youth to pray and invite others to the event.

“We want to challenge youth who will be attending to boldly pray every day for at least one unchurched friend and invite them to Unite,” Ward says. “There’s nothing more incredible than seeing God work in the hearts of children to forever change their lives.”

Unite is a free event. To register for the event, the dodgeball tournament (space is limited to 16 teams), or to volunteer, visit www.standupunite.com. For more information, contact Tabitha Ward at tward@bchfamily.org or 336-313-9512.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To Due to a scheduling conflict, Christian rap artist HumbleTip will not be performing at this year’s Unite.