ELYRIA, Ohio—Every spring teens in GARBC churches across the nation take part in statewide Talents For Christ competitions. The competitions are the capstone for participants, who have honed their skills in playing musical instruments, writing, speaking, art, and a variety of other categories. On April 5 over 150 teens, parents, pastors, judges, and supporters in Ohio and Michigan came together at First Baptist Church.
On the heels of the joint state conference of the Ohio and Michigan Regular Baptist associations, the two states combined their Talents For Christ competitions at First Baptist Church. “A walk through the halls throughout the competition gives one an opportunity to get the full Talents For Christ experience,” says Pastor Dave Burman Jr. of First Baptist Church, Niles, Ohio. “It is a swirl of emotions. You will feel the buzz of nerves, excitement, professionalism, playfulness, prayer, pressure, anticipation, wonder, and eventually relief.
“The laughter and conversation ring in the lunch area. Many stop and examine the art entries in the halls, including paintings, pictures, and even cake! Parents and pastors rush from room to room trying to get to the next stop on their competition schedule. Practice rooms reveal the muffled sound of instrumental music, singing, or teaching and preaching. Drama teams in costume and with props in hand stand outside the auditorium doors, waiting their turn. Choirs line up, taking a few deep breaths as their leader lines them up in preparation. Camp directors, who have offered camp scholarships for all junior high entries, mingle with the parents and teens in the foyer. And finally there is the anticipation and revelation that surround the results in the final session.”
Students choose to compete in either the open or the scholarship level of Talents For Christ. Those placing first or second at the scholarship level of a state competition receive scholarships to participating colleges. The open level is for students who are just developing their skills, are too young for the scholarship level, or are not planning on attending a participating college. Regardless of whether they compete at the scholarship or open level, all students who receive first or second place at a state competition may compete in the national competition at the GARBC Annual Conference June 23–27 in St. Petersburg, Fla., where winners receive additional scholarships.
Pastor Burman says, “If you haven’t ever experienced the excitement of a Talents For Christ competition, grab a teen or a youth group, borrow the church van, and make a day of it. You will be blessed. There is nothing like seeing young people giving their best, and knowing that those talents are being used in the ministries of their home church, and that they are most importantly, being used for the Lord.”