Gatlinburg, TN – The south’s premier event for Christian youth, Resurrection, announced the creation of a new position today, naming an executive director. For the first time in the organization’s 25-year history, Resurrection will be led by executive director, Jason Roe. More than 12,500 teens ascend on Gatlinburg for Resurrection each year. Held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, it is an evangelistic experience for youths aged 13 – 19 and their adult mentors.
Roe, who will manage the ministry, attended Resurrection as a youth. “I know first hand what Resurrection can do for a young person. I was 11 years old when I went to my first Resurrection and it changed my life.” Roe is now an evangelist and as executive director, he will work to expand Resurrection beyond the two weekend-long events. “When I see a teen bring a friend to Resurrection and maybe that friend has never been to church, that friend gets to experience worship in a fresh and exciting way,” says Roe. “What an introduction to the Gospel!”
Resurrection was formed in 1985 by three youth pastors, Don Thomas, Hugh Kilgore and Steve Blakemore. Their goal was simple. They wanted to facilitate the Christian experience for young people in a new way. Less than a year later, the first Resurrection was held at the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg. It grew from several hundred to more than 12,000 in 25 years. “It’s time that we take this incredible ministry to the next level and spread the Gospel to more and more youth,” says Blakemore.
As for what the next 25 years hold, Roe says he is excited about the possibilities. “We are moving towards a year-round ministry, which means Resurrection will be a resource for youth group leaders and the teens as well.” Roe would also like to have Resurrection-sponsored mission trips for youth who live in impoverished communities where those resources are currently not available. “Imagine taking a 14-year-old out of his rural county to a place like Haiti and expose him to other cultures, those less fortunate and ultimately the power of Christ,” says Roe.
While many of the youth groups that currently attend Resurrection are from East Tennessee, some travel more than 500 miles to be apart of the ministry. They are responsible for their own accommodations; most of the groups stay in local hotels and cabins in the Gatlinburg area. “You know, we’re always concerned about the cost, but we’re confident in the youth and their home churches. They raise money to pay for their trip here,” says Thomas. Tickets to Resurrection are
$35.00 per person in advance and $45.00 at the door.
This year, nationally-renowned speaker and author, Justin Lookadoo will deliver the message at each session of Resurrection. “Justin Lookadoo is one of those guys you just can’t forget,” says Roe. “He’s 6’7’’ and has spiky hair, but above all, he can connect with the youth.” The musical guest at Resurrection 2010 is Kristian Stanfill, one of this generation’s most compelling singer/songwriters.
For more information about Resurrection, visit the website www.resurrectionyouth.com.