By Joel Hall
More than 400 young people are expected to gather at Oak Park Church in Jonesboro for the church's fourth annual Youth, Teen, and Young Adult Revival Service. The annual gathering of young Christians will take place this Friday at 7 p.m.
The service, which has become a tradition at the church, has grown in attendance and participation, according to Seth Oliver, a 22-year-old minister at Oak Park. He said this year's revival service will include drama, step teams, and choir performances by church youth groups from Jonesboro, Riverdale and Austell.
"We have seen growth in the attendance of the service," Oliver said. "It's something positive for the younger generation. I think it being an atmosphere geared toward this generation, that's what makes it successful. This generation is looking for something real and authentic that will stick in their minds, and that is what they get from this service."
Participating in this year's youth revival will be Oak Park Church's youth praise and drama teams, the step team of Word Alive Ministries in Riverdale, the 60-member youth choir of Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Austell, and the youth choir of New Macedonia Baptist Church in Riverdale, according to Oliver. In addition, there will be a live band and "tag team" youth preaching by Oliver and James Barlar, a 17-year-old senior at People's Baptist Academy in McDonough.
David Scott, pastor of Oak Park Church for 11 years, said the youth revival has been well received by the community.
"We gladly host it, but Seth [Oliver] has been the force behind it," Scott said. "It is a really amazing cross section of people, as far as ages, races, and denominations. There are people from various congregations around the city and the south side.
"I think for young people, there is a very fresh hunger for the things of God ... they're looking for answers that maybe the church has not given them," Scott said. "Especially with the economy and all the negative things out there, to get some kind of positive message is a very important thing for kids to have these days. Hopefully this is something that will bless them and inspire them to do better as well."
Oliver said having the revival on Friday night will give young people "something to do" rather than turning toward things such as "drugs, crime, and violence."
"People have come back and said, 'this service had a big impact on my life,' and that's encouraging," he said. "It means the revival is doing what it's supposed to do."
Oak Park Church is located at 2613 Ga. Highway 138 East in Jonesboro. For more information, call (770) 478-7887.