June 2, 1999
Canyon churches join together for cooperative Disciple Now
___By George Henson
___CANYON--Youth ministers in Canyon are working toward making the traditional Disciple Now weekend into a Disciple All event.
___John Butterfield, youth minister at First Baptist Church in Canyon, said the town's joint Disciple Now event has grown proportionately to the amount of cooperation between the churches--and not just the Baptist ones.
___"We were having a pretty successful Disciple Now here at our church, with just the Baptist types," Butterfield recalled.
___But after the youth ministers in Canyon had good success in cooperative efforts for a "See You at the Pole" event, they decided to try a joint approach to Disciple Now.
___"There was a common feeling that we had more in common than we had differences," Butterfield said.
___So, First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church, Canyon Christian Church, Calvary Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Grace Baptist Church and Faith Community Church now cooperate to put on a big-event Disciple Now weekend.
___Disciple Now is a national program supported by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Traditionally, Disciple Now events are undertaken by single churches over a weekend. Youth are divided into small groups and assigned to church members' homes, where they live for the weekend while studying and discussing the Bible.
___In Canyon, the churches come together for large events with special guest speakers and worship leaders and then split up with the kids from each church moving to their assigned homes within their own church cluster.
___Butterfield said he had a few reservations when the program was planned for the first joint venture three years ago, but now he sees that all participants have benefited.
___"I had some fears that we might lose some of our First Baptist kids to some of the other groups, so that they could be with their friends," he explained. "But really just the opposite has happened. All the churches have seen kids come that they probably would not have otherwise. This has just been the thing to do if you are a teenager in Canyon. On some weekends, the thing is to go to a ballgame or maybe a certain party. But on this weekend, the thing to do has become Disciple Now."
___This year's weekend began on Thursday, April 22, and continued through that Sunday. The event drew 500 teenagers from a community with a population of only 1,800 teenagers.
___"Part of what makes this such a good weekend is making it a Canyon youth group, not just one from a particular church," Butterfield said. "We're approaching 30 percent of the school system, and we could not do that without the cooperation between the churches."
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