Wesley_inlineOSWEGO, Illinois—Eighteen students competed at the national level of Talents For Christ on Tuesday morning, June 28. The competition took place at Harvest New Beginnings church, which is hosting the GARBC annual conference.

“It’s a very rewarding experience,” says Wesley Prindle of Ankeny, Iowa. “I’m excited to be here.” Wesley competed in the preaching category, delivering a sermon on the feeding of the 5,000 from John 6:3–15. Others competed in the vocal and instrumental categories, as well as Bible knowledge, oral interpretation of Scripture, and visualized Bible teaching.

Competitors work hard year round honing their abilities and competing at the regional and local levels. Making it to the national competition is a major achievement in its own right. Students competing in the scholarship categories have a shot at winning either a $2,500 or $5,000 scholarship at participating colleges.

But as important as the competition and scholarships are, the ultimate goal of Talents For Christ is far greater: to help teens develop their God-given talents for life and ministry. “You’ve worked hard to develop your craft,” John Greening said, addressing the competitors on Tuesday morning. “And whether or not you end up using that skill in your profession, the values that you are developing are preparing you for the future. And what God wants more than anything is that, with the skill you develop, you bring Him glory.”

Winners of the 2016 competition were announced during the conference’s Wednesday evening session.