“D-Now is always special because it is a time where members of the student ministry become closer friends and new students truly become part of the group,” Barnes said. “The spiritual growth, however, is the most valuable part of D-Now. My favorite stories about D-Now are not the ones about how many people made a decision/commitment at D-Now. My favorite stories happen three and four weeks after D-Now when it becomes clear that some students are following through on the decisions and commitments they made at camp. In other words, the best part of D-Now is when students start producing fruit after D-Now.”
The Webster County D-Now is set for Feb. 6-8 at First Baptist Church of Eupora. Over 220 students in grades 7-12 from churches throughout Webster County have already signed up to be part of the event.
Barnes said students can expect him to be very expository in nature.
“I will do my best to put the scripture in the proper context so that the meaning of the passage is clear and applicable,” Barnes said. “I do use stories and illustrations in my sermons but my sermons are built off of the scripture rather than an illustration.”
D-Now Weekends have been a big part of Barnes’ ministry for many years. As a young college student at Itawamba Community College, Barnes met Jonathan Barnard who became his partner in forming B.L.I.H.P. Ministries.
Barnes said B.L.I.H.P. Ministries was a group of college students who worked together to put on D-Now Weekends anywhere they were invited. B.L.I.H.P. stood for “By Living In His Presence.”
“We really got to see God do some cool things through that (ministry),” Barnes said. ” We wanted to challenge students to live everyday in the realization that Jesus is with His people and His people should act accordingly. We emphasized that Christianity is something that is to be lived outside the church walls as well as it is lived inside them.”
Barnes said all of the original members of B.L.I.H.P. are now out of college, with their own ministries and families, but he said it was a wonderful ministry opportunity for everyone involved.
During his ministry , Barnes has served in local churches both as a student minister and senior pastor. Today, Walt holds a M.A. in Biblical Studies from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and he is currently pursuing his Ph.D in Biblical Interpretation. He serves as the Assistant Director of the Baptist Student Union at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College-Jefferson Davis campus.
Kevin Barnette, students minister at First Baptist Church of Eupora said the theme for this year’s D-Now Weekend is “ONE — ONE body for ONE purpose to make ONE name known.”
“We are all made one individually with Christ as believers,” Barnette said. “When that happens we are also made up into one body (which is the Church) working toward the same goal and that is to make one name (Jesus) known!”
Barnette said organizers for the Webster County D-Now event are hoping Barnes can share with students the importance of working together as the “Church” to further the kingdom.
“So many times we tend to look at our own church and forget that we have a whole team of churches that are fighting the same battles we are,” Barnette said.
All churches around the county are invited to participate in D-Now. Organizers for this year’s event include Barnette, Ryan Spencer from Mantee Baptist Church, Patrick Dalstra of First Baptist Church of Mathiston, Charlie Easley of Walthall Baptist Church, and Brannon Armstrong of Double Springs Baptist Church.
“I am hoping that the students that come will be able to hear God’s word and be moved to make more out of the life that God has given them,” Barnette said. “That they would be able to forget about themselves and to focus on the main goals of being a believer and that is to make disciples and live a life of godliness.”
Bro. Travis Gray, pastor of FBC Eupora, said D-Now Weekend is one of the most exciting weekends of the year.
“It offers opportunities for young people to be in an environment that will encourage them to examine their faith,” Gray said. “We live in a world that says ‘it doesn’t matter what you believe.’ As a follower of Christ, I know that nothing could be further from the truth. Our eternity will be determined by who we trust in. My prayer is that every life present will be touched for the glory of God.”
Wil Bailey, student member of FBC Eupora, has attended D-Now for several years and it always makes a personal impact.
“D-Now has been an event that has always been a great way for me to examine how I am living my life compared to how the Bible wants me to live my life,” Bailey said. “It is great time for worship and praise and it is very encouraging to be surrounded by fellow believers throughout Webster County.”
There’s still time for students grades 7-12 to attend the D-Now weekend. Fee is $30 which includes a t-shirt and snack food for the weekend. Students will stay in host homes from each church throughout the weekend, so reservations need to be made in advance. Contact your local Webster County church to be part of the group attending or call the FBC Eupora office at (662) 258-3491 to join the FBC Eupora group.
See this story in the February 4, 2015 edition of The Webster Progress Times at http://websterprogresstimes.com/2015/02/04/d-now-will-be-time-for-spiritual-growth/.
See a portion of this story in the February 5, 2015 edition of First Baptist Church of Eupora’s newsletter at BR Newsletter 2-5-15