Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz in the year 1519 to begin his conquest of the Aztec empire. Upon arriving, he gave the order to his men to burn the entire fleet of ships that they arrived in. The men watched in fearful awe as the flames from these ships burned into the night sky. There was no chance of retreat. They would either win or fail, but they could not retreat.
Two years later they succeeded in their quest.
In many ways that’s why we are “burning the ships” at Dare 2 Share. The two-day conferences are the fleet of ships that God used to get us where we are today as a ministry. These conferences are our brand, our mast, our hull and our sail.
But this weekend on Saturday night at 5 p.m. (when our final Dare 2 Share conference ends in Denver) we are striking the match and throwing it on this mighty fleet. We are collectively saying goodbye to the two-day events.
Why? Because, after a few years of praying through, thinking through and fighting through, we came to realize that if we truly want to reach “every teen everywhere” we have to kill the conferences. While this has been an excruciatingly painful decision (nobody loves the conferences more than I do) it is time to say goodbye.
Even when our conferences were at their largest, the most we ever trained was 50,000 teenagers in a year. According to Youth for Christ there are 20,000,000 unreached young people in the United States. And there are approximately one billion teenagers globally. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that there needs to be a different strategy if we really want to reach them all with the Gospel.
What’s the new strategy? We are going to do what we’ve been asking youth leaders to do for years…go deeper and go wider.
We are going to “go wider” by switching to a strategy that can scale to hundreds of cities across the nation. Dare 2 Share Live has the capacity to do just that. This annual, live, simulcast event will have the opportunity to mobilize teenagers for the Gospel in cities across the nation all at the same time and all on the same day. As a matter of fact we’d love for you to join our Dare 2 Share Live Prayer Force. Together we’ll pray every day at 9:23 for a student awakening to be unleashed on September 23 through the teenagers and youth leaders at Dare 2 Share Live!
We are going wider through Dare 2 Share Live and going deeper through Lead THE Cause, our full-week (in-country) mission trips that prepare teenagers to live a life on mission. In 2013 we discovered a startling and disappointing reality: Six months after experiencing Dare 2 Share conferences only 36 percent of the teenagers were actively sharing their faith. We soon discovered that a better, deeper, longer-lasting way of equipping teens was Lead THE Cause.
LTC is the game-changer, the DNA transfer(er), the boot camp meets mission trip on steroids. It is a “rapid intensification event” that takes teenagers who love Jesus and turns them into teenagers who live, love and lead like Jesus!
We are also going deeper and wider by recruiting, training and unleashing key youth leaders and pastors as Certified Trainers. These leaders are equipping and coaching other leaders to lead Gospel Advancing, Disciple multiplying ministries from coast to coast.
In addition to what God is doing across the nation, he is opening up amazing doors around the world! I think of Don Olding in South Africa, Callum Thomas in Australia, Hudson Palgrave in Ghana, Stefano Longo in Italy, Livia Best in Switzerland, Shinga Jeremie in Africa and so many more! God is using them to unleash Dare 2 Share tools and resources in their countries through their own ministries in new and exciting ways! God is raising up a Global Gospel Advancing army of men and women ready to energize, mobilize and gospelize until every teen everywhere hears the Gospel from a friend!
But to see all this happen nationally and globally, we have to burn the ships. We have to say goodbye to the mighty fleet that, by God’s grace, got us to the point we are today.
The match is between my fingers. My hands are trembling. The tears of nostalgia are streaming down my cheeks. And tomorrow, at the end of the Dare 2 Share “Unshakeable” tour in Denver, my shaking hands will strike the match and burn the ships.
This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But we are not looking back. We are looking forward and we will not rest, we will not stop, until every teen everywhere hears the Gospel from a friend!
Stand with us!
This article originally appeared here.