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Gadsden-area event challenges Alabama Baptist youth spiritually, physicallycomment (0)

August 2, 2012

By Brittney Knox

Gadsden-area event challenges Alabama Baptist youth spiritually, physically

The Amazing Race: Extreme Faith Edition was no ordinary race. Designed to challenge participants spiritually as well as physically, Embark Ministries hosted the event July 21 in the Gadsden area. 

The 11 participating church groups dressed in their team’s color and set out on their journey in hopes of being named this year’s winner with the fastest times. The grand prize included a trophy, a $500 gift certificate toward a youth event hosted by Embark Ministries and, of course, the pride. 

Yells of excitement paired with shouts of encouragement filled the air near a lake in Gadsden as students pushed through a swim challenge that called for team members to transport 40 Legos, one at a time, from a small bay across the lake back to the dock in the fastest time. 

Brianna Warsham, a member of Bellevue Baptist Church, Gadsden, in Etowah Baptist Association, was proud of her team’s efforts in the swim challenge. 

“I had a lot of fun completing the challenge,” Warsham said. “I loved the challenges last year when I participated and am glad I got the chance to do it again this year.” 

In addition to the swim challenge, teams participated in ropes course activities, including zip lining; a memorization challenge, where students with limited time recalled images pictured on a card; a youth minister challenge in which teams encouraged their leaders through physically demanding obstacles; and a ministry challenge, where students got couples in area shopping centers to take pictures with a sign that displayed a spiritual message.  

“Each challenge was designed to teach the students about something they would experience in their Christian walk,” said Vista McDuffie, director of Embark Ministries. “For example, the memorization challenge relayed the message to students that we have to know God’s Word to be able to give an account at any time.”

Among the participants was Tyler Elliott of Bellevue Baptist who found this event to be the perfect combination of fun and the opportunity to grow in Christ. 

Elliott spoke highly of McDuffie and shared that he preached the sermon that led him to follow Christ. Elliott, 19, recalls walking down the church aisle when he was 15 after hearing McDuffie’s sermon. 

“Anytime I can help bring [people] to Christ, it feels great,” McDuffie said. 

While there was only one prize for the race winner, all participants were blessed with the message at the worship rally held at Cross Point Community Church, Gadsden. Students heard Spirit-filled selections from Intersect Worship band and a message from McDuffie that urged them to run God’s race without fear, with passion and with endurance. 

Also taking place at the worship rally was the announcement of this year’s winner — Keener Baptist Church, Attala, in Etowah Baptist Association. Teresa Gore, youth pastor for Keener Baptist, said they are a small church that loves Christ “a whole lot.” 

“We are definitely excited to win and glad to have been a part of this,” she said.

This was the second year for the competition, and it has already more than doubled in participation — 120 students in 2011 and 300 students this year.

The Amazing Race is one of many events hosted by Embark Ministries. For more information, visit www.embarkministries.com. 

To view a video related to this story, visit the video library.

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