By Jessica Connor
A big name in college football will headline the youth worship service at Annual Conference this month, and organizers hope his testimony will inspire and uplift thousands of souls.
Dylan Thompson, a junior quarterback for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, is known for his winning pass late in the Outback Bowl to lift Carolina over Michigan “ and for being a devout Christian so transformed by his faith that he is driven to make his story known.
He s a phenomenal athlete who is passionate about his relationship with Christ and wants to share that with others on and off the field, said Conference Secretary the Rev. Karen Radcliffe.
Called A 4:12 Story, the youth worship service is set for Day Three of the four-day Annual Conference, which runs June 9-12 at the Florence Civic Center. Thompson s keynote that Tuesday night comes at the end of a full day of intergenerational hunger mission, where youth, children and adults from across South Carolina will have packed 285,000 meals for desperately hungry people through the relief organization Stop Hunger Now.
All are encouraged to attend the worship service “ youth and adults.
It will be a celebration and culmination of the day s events, Radcliffe said.
Joining Thompson for the evening of Christian inspiration are Rachel Woodlee, a Wofford College graduate recently named a Rhodes Scholar, and Brett Younker, a Christian music artist and worship leader. Woodlee is a member of Advent UMC, Simpsonville.
The Rev. Kathy James said the vision for the youth service was to have a celebration of how God is working through The United Methodist Church in a way that invites others to worship and praise God together.
The hope was that we could secure a speaker for the service who was well-known enough to draw a crowd from the community. Dylan Thompson speaks about faith in a way that engages young people, James said. I expect a joyful ending to an exciting day.
Chris Lynch, congregational specialist and youth ministries staffer, said he is super excited to have Thompson, Woodlee and Younker onstage all combining forces to transform lives.
The 4:12 Story worship service at annual conference gives young people from across our annual conference an opportunity to share how they are setting an example by allowing Christ to impact their story, Lynch said. Both Dylan and Rachel will inspire young and old alike as they share how God has impacted their story.
Thompson has built a quick reputation for contagious excitement about the Lord and about football.
The Post and Courier called the Boiling Springs native a devout Christian known for pointing skyward after a touchdown. The State has said he is quick to share his faith.
All over sports articles and broadcasts, Thompson uses his platform to talk about Christ whenever possible.
Thompson told the Greenville News he puts his full confidence in Jesus Christ: Whether I played great or played bad, He was going to love me the same.
The Spartanburg Herald Journal ran an article last fall sharing his commitment to mission work; Thompson has been to El Salvador twice. Another article shares how Thompson reportedly offered his life to Christ during his freshman season, April 2011, and uses his football clout to help people draw closer to Jesus: An 11-win season is great, but somebody giving their life to Christ is a million times more important.
Thompson also uses Twitter as a platform. Going by the handle @DT_ONE_SEVEN, one recent tweet shared, Another day to lead and serve while pointing people to Christ.
For complete coverage of Annual Conference, including the youth worship service, check out next month s edition of the Advocate.