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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Connections: Chet Caudill

Catching the STL Vision

Chet Caudill served as a youth pastor and evangelist and for four years as district youth director for the Appalachian District before being appointed to lead Speed the Light/Student Missions for National Youth Ministries in 2009. He spoke recently with Scott Harrup, managing editor.

evangel: You became heavily involved in Speed the Light in the Appalachian District.
As a youth pastor, our students started doing an event called Via Dolorosa. It’s a 35-mile walk that we did on Easter weekend. My last year as youth pastor, they raised $22,000 in a town of about 4,000. When I became district youth director, we focused strongly on Speed the Light. I’m a firm believer that young people need to be discipled in terms of praying and reading the Bible, but also in personal ministry involvement. Speed the Light is a great opportunity for them to look outside of themselves and be involved in active ministry.

evangel: What are some examples of STL commitment that stand out?
A lot of youth pastors are catching the vision that, first of all, Speed the Light is an opportunity to resource missionaries to reach the lost and, secondly, it’s an opportunity to disciple students and teach them biblical principles of giving.

When we’re generous with our gifts and give sacrificially, then we end up growing. Last year 30 districts around the nation had increases in Speed the Light giving, nine of them with a record-setting year.

When I think of individual examples, I think of three young people from Kailua Assembly of God in Hawaii who raised more than $9,000 in just eight weeks. I was at Central Assembly of God in Bossier City, La., earlier this year. They took up a Sunday morning offering that, combined with some gifts that came in that week, matched their entire year’s giving for 2009. Then they set goals for 2010 that totaled $43,000. At an STL rally in New Jersey just a few weeks ago, a girl came up to me with a $900 check. She had been planning to use that money to repaint her car. The generosity and sacrifice of young people and leaders is amazing.

evangel: How are STL funds used?
CAUDILL: Primarily, our funds purchase communications and transportation equipment. Transportation includes everything from trucks for Convoy of Hope to vehicles for missionaries to even camels. We bought two camels for a missionary who used them for transportation in Africa. Interesting story, when a famine hit the region, he saw people dying and knew he was supposed to reach them with the gospel. He ended up slaughtering the camels to feed some of the starving people around him.

We’ve purchased communications equipment for ministries like Unsión TV in Ecuador and International Media Ministries around the world. Missionary Jerry Gibson, the director of IMM, told me one day, “Chet, if it were not for Speed the Light, IMM would not be able to do what it does.” With the growth of the Internet, we’re looking to help certain evangelism ministries establish a Web presence by providing them with servers.

For new church plants in the States, STL is providing $3,500 grants for sound equipment or multimedia equipment. In addition to that, we purchased equipment that is being used to take the message of the gospel into the public school system through the Seven Project. We’ve seen lots of kids saved through that as well.

evangel: Any final thoughts?
The heart of Speed the Light is not a program. The heart is seeing souls be saved, and I think it’s important to say that as much as possible. Our efforts to lead the charge for this ministry should come from that perspective.


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