PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL.—Over 1300 college students are spending their spring break under the sun at The Edgewater Beach Resort during the first session of Campus Crusade for Christ’s (CCC) Big Break 2004, which kicked off March 6 and ends this Saturday. What is hotter than the sun is the students’ and participants’ boldness and passion to share the Gospel with the half-million students estimated to come to the city during the spring break season.
The Christian Post was able to talk to Nathan Dunn, the Director of Communications for the U.S. Campus Ministry, the collegiate ministry of CCC International, on the phone regarding the impact the conference activities are having on the college students.
Dunn said the participants start the morning by gathering in the ballroom of the resort to prep themselves up for the day’s activities. A Bible teacher delivers a message that “helps the students apply the bible in the practical way”. The students also worship in the morning.
The first morning session of the retreat was a presentation on the Bible to strengthen the relationship between the students and Jesus.
“Some students come here and don’t have relationship with Jesus Christ. Each talk is a way to help students to help them take the next step of faith in Jesus and dealing with sin in their lives.”
Near the end of the morning sessions, the students have time to discuss the outreach activities planned for the day.
The students then break off into groups to share the Gospel with people on the beach said Dunn.
The students use a “Spiritual Interest Survey” which stimulates conversation about God and Jesus. The survey asks questions such as: “If you could know God, what would be your interest level?” or “ When you think about God, what are three words that come to mind?”
“We are hearing from our students that the interest from the people have increased,” said Dunn.
By allowing the students to share the Gospel on the beach, students have grown spiritually.
“We want to create different venues for them to share the Gospel and their testimonies.”
Dunn added, “Students are built by getting out the comfort zone and going out to people they never met with to what can be an intimidating experience. For some students here, this is the first time they’ve shared.”
“That alone is a watershed event. It’s okay to talk about Jesus.”
Two more days remain until the students return to their respective locations. A second session of the spring conference will begin March 13-20, a third March 20-27. However, Dunn said the first session usually receives the highest turnout. This year, 1300 students from over 50 campuses came to the first week, 1000 are expected to come to the second week and 400 to the third.
What they have experience during their week at Panama City Beach doesn’t end there. Dunn says the discussions about what they have learned will continue even after conference has ended.
He said some students drove 20-30 hours to get to the event but “they have the same ride back".