Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
4:12 x 2
Jack Donaldson, an 18-year-old leader at Bethlehem, writes, “Several young men from Bethlehem are gearing up for the second 4:12 Conference taking place August 10–11. While all of the 4:12 team members know and believe that God operates outside of man's numbers, we would love to see an abundance of young men and their fathers and mentors attend this conference.”
Last year at the first Bethlehem 4:12 Conference, a father and his 17-year-old son approached a member of the leadership team. They were from South Dakota and had learned of the 4:12 Conference from Bethlehem’s website. Tears welled up in the dad's eyes as he spoke about the persecution his son has suffered in a public high school where he alone openly declares allegiance to Jesus Christ. This dad expressed deep gratitude to God for what he is doing through the 4:12 Conference—first, through the powerful messages given by the speakers; second, in showing his son the reality of hundreds of dads and sons worshiping Jesus Christ, courageous in him; and third, his son receiving new inspiration and boldness as he returned home to his high school, knowing he had brothers at Bethlehem who would be praying for him.
Here are some endorsements from others.
From David Michael, Pastor for Parenting & Family Discipleship:
Several years ago, someone overheard a conversation between two 17-year-olds from our church. One explained to the other that his father was encouraging him to come to the “Men’s” retreat. The other responded, “Why would you want to go to the Men’s Retreat, you are not a man?” It was a defining moment when I learned of this conversation. A burden was felt, a vision was born, and the prayer of my heart was planted.
O God, may the day come at Bethlehem when such a comment is unthinkable. May the day come when every 17-year-old and younger understands that he is a young man more than he is a teenager. Fill Bethlehem with young men and young women of God who know Jesus for the treasure that he is and who surpass the mainstream of their generation in knowledge, maturity, skills, and preparation for living their lives to the glory of God.
Perhaps this prayer helps to explain why I am so thankful to God for the 4:12 Conference for “young men” at Bethlehem. I am thankful because today, when most males in their teen years learn of this conference, they will understand that a conference for “young men” is a conference for them. I am even more thankful that this conference is packed with opportunities for young men to gather and, together, see more of Christ for the treasure that he is and increase in knowledge, maturity, skills, and preparation for living their lives to the glory of God.
The Apostle Paul challenged the church in Corinth to “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). May God grant that this conference help every young man at Bethlehem understand how to act like a man for God’s glory and for the eternal joy of their generation!"
From Kempton Turner, Pastor for Young Adult (Sr High) Discipleship:
There is simply no way to calculate the gospel quake that would take place if the Holy Spirit of God fell afresh upon the gathering of young men, their fathers and mentors at the 4:12 Young Men’s Conference. The aftershocks of such a massive movement of God’s Spirit upon the hearts of young men would be felt for generations to come! Please pray, please fast, please get every young man that you know (grade 5–12) to this gathering. Let’s expect together that God would do glorious things of tsunamic proportions among us, through the power of the cross, to the glory of the risen Christ!
Pastor Sam Crabtree is Bethlehem's Executive Pastor and Lead Pastor for Life Training.