Rise Up began as Becky Spell Vann stood at a revival service in Charlotte experiencing God and wondering what she could do to help. After three years of waiting and praying, Vann initiated the first Rise Up Christian Conference, with the fifth scheduled for later this month.
According to Vann, this year’s conference will focus on Christians restoring their faith, and hopefully, Vann said, encourage others to help restore our nation. Through much prayer, Vann said, this event joined forces with another Christian outreach program, Illuminate, and will do the same this year.
“Faithfully, we put His plans in place for an event where people can rise up to revive, renew, repent, restore and relate,” Vann said. “(We hope) the result will be total restoration and a desire to cherish a close, right relationship with the Lord and loved ones.”
Rise Up-Restore/Illuminate will be held Jan. 30 at the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center. This event is free for everyone.
The first conference, Rise Up-Recount, was held in 2012 with Rise Up-Reach Out held in 2013, Rise Up-Renew held in 2014 and Rise Up-Relate last year. This year’s conference is Rise Up-Restore. When the time came to begin planning this year’s conference, Vann acknowledged that just like in the past, she contemplated not doing the conference again. However, the power of prayer has led her and Illuminate board members in a different direction.
“Everyone is so busy with life these days, we just didn’t know how to work it out,” Vann shared. “But, you know, God had a plan already in place and he has promised restoration for all of us. We are hoping locals will come out and share their stories of how God has restored them.”
Throughout the conference, Vann said testimonies will be shared. Kent Fann, a paraplegic farmer, will share his story, as will Vann, Jennifer Brewer, Scooter Banks and Cindy Parson, whose son is part of Wounded Warriors.
When asked why such conferences should be held, Vann said it allows for people to come out for fellowship, food, fun and fostering of faith, simply because people need to know the Lord, to rise up in Christian love and leadership, and to live in a right relationship with God and family.
“This year, God has opened the door for an amazing opportunity to glorify Him as we join with Illuminate for a powerful time of worship and witness for Jesus,” Vann stated.
Youth groups are being invited to participate in the event, but youth leaders must join their groups. As part of Illuminate, groups will be disbursed throughout the community and assigned to different service projects. Music will be provided throughout the day from the New Bethel Quartet, Cedar Point Choir, Marksmen, Precious Jewels and Elevate Praise Band.
On Saturday, the event will begin with breakfast and a morning service, followed by witnessing and work in the field and a closing service from 4-6 p.m. Guest speaker is Scooter Banks, a youth minister from Johnston County.
During the field ministry time Saturday, Vann said the youth will spread out to areas around the county to complete service work and witnessing.
In the past, Rise Up has registered around 450 attendees and Illuminate usually has about 200 local youth attend its summer event. Vann said she hopes this year’s conference will draw as many people as possible, so God’s love can be shared with all.
“Our nation needs to be restored,” Vann said. “We hope everyone leaves feeling like they have changed.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.