A record-breaking number of some of the brightest artists Assemblies of God has to offer participated Monday in the opening rally of the 42nd National Fine Arts Festival, a National Youth Ministries event. Some 7,000 will compete in 49 categories and strive not only to find where their talent lies in ministry but where they lie in the grand scope of ministry.
"I think the greatest benefit of this week, besides the obvious focus and discovery and development of ministry gifts among our students," said National Youth Ministries Director Tom Greene, "is the national celebration of A/G youth ministry. The kids are able to realize they are a part of something much bigger than their local youth ministry, that they are a part of something pretty big and pretty special."
In addition to nearly 7,000 youths participating in the art categories, over 8,000 attended the opening rally of the event, held in at the Austin Convention Center, which will take place from August 2-6.
"For a non-General Council year, I believe our last figures showed us up 37 percent," Greene said.
On-site registration was held earlier during the day. During the next few days, attendants will engage in several workshops and hear from experts in their ministry field of interest. Evenings will be reserved for worship services.
Throughout the week, judges will assign awards to 49 divisions, including Art, Communication, Drama, Instrumental, Vocal and Writing.
According to A/G, the Exhibition Division will have the following talents on display: comedy, percussion, puppetry, video production and Web site design.
The event will culminate on 4 p.m., August 6, with a Celebration Service, where the top three participants in each category will be honored with one receiving the Award of Merit. "Honorable Mentions" will be given in each of the Exhibition categories.