FOCUS seeks to give students the tools they need to defend their faith

Amy Lubenow

Staff Writer

      Labor Day weekend is spent in a variety of ways by Wayland students. Some students will go home for their first break of the semester, some students stay here at school to rest and get ahead on homework, others will spend time camping or participating in athletic events here on campus. One event that is always a popular choice is the FOCUS conference in Dallas. This year, there was a great turn out for the trip and overall, students felt that their time at the conference was a positive experience.

     FOCUS is a conference that is held in the Convention center in downtown Dallas. Each year, a speaker is brought in to bring messages to the students, and a band is brought in to lead students in worship through music. Vody Bauchum, this year's speaker, brought intense messages that were geared toward equipping students in defending their faith. His messages emphasized the validity of the Bible and sharing with students how to effectively communicate that to those who do not believe it.

     Most students felt that the messages were very informative and that they prepared students to make an impact through apologetics. Students were also challenged by Vody with the importance of the Bible to Christians individually. The messages encompassed the entire spectrum of what the purpose of the Bible is: a vital tool for personal growth as well as a historical document that validates the Christian faith through factual events. 

     Sophomore Josh Smith of Fairbanks, Alaska appreciated the wide spectrum of the messages.

     "I took from FOCUS how important the Bible is in both my personal walk and in getting people to know God. It just drove home the overall importance of the Bible."

      Josh also felt that the conference was even more than he was expecting. With gifts of the speaker and the band combined, the worship services were the most powerful part of the conference for Josh.

     "I didn't know what to expect, but it ended up being more than I expected. It wasn't just all the lights and good sound, and it was different not going in a youth group but with a college group. The music was very easy to worship to and the speaker was very to the point," Smith said.

      Overall, students seemed to enjoy the conference because everyone was able to take different things from it and because of the variety of events, students seemed to benefit in various ways. Students had lots of time to interact with their peers and to build new relationships to start off the new semester. When students weren't in a worship service, they were typically found spending time with friends and learning to dig deeper in their relationships.

      Senior Byron Potter had a positive experience with the people around him and especially the time spent with other students.

     "I got more out of the fellowship with the people than the actual conference. I went a few years back and I liked it better this time," Potter said.

      Each worship service consisted of a message from Vody and music brought by The Smith Band, the band better known for leading worship at A&M's campus Bible study, Breakaway. Students agreed that the band brought a powerful sound and a spirit of reverence that guided them into undistracted worship. Freshman Luke Loetscher's favorite part of the weekend was the music time.

     "Worship was the best part. It really reached me and I liked the variety of upbeat songs. It was uninterrupted and it wasn't done up really flashy."

      Luke also felt that he benefited greatly from the messages that Vody spoke on, and that his overall experience was more than he had expected.

     "I learned a lot about my faith and why I believe what I do. Now, I could share with someone if they asked me why I believe in the Bible," Luke said.

      The overall consensus from students was that the conference was a wonderful experience that equipped students to more adequately communicate solid facts on why the Bible is believable and that students were also given opportunities to worship though music, service, and fellowship. Several students felt that the conference was beneficial in various ways and that the best part couldn't be narrowed down to one specific thing.

     "I just really like it all," Sophomore Jalissa King said. "I can't pick my favorite thing because I really learned from all the things we did."

     Many students from Wayland attended and are now looking forward to sharing the facts they learned this weekend with those they encounter that feel they don't have reason to believe the Bible. Vody used a variety of illustrations and analogies to get his point across in his messages. Students were able to apply these analogies to their own lives and are learning to put them into practice. Vody closed his last sermon with one illustration that made a big difference to junior Jennifer Baumann.

     "Christians should only be beggars that look to share with other beggars where they found their bread," Vody challenged the students.