Over 1,850 attendees and staff gathered in Big Sandy, Texas, for this year’s Family Conference, held April 23–28. Families and individuals came from more than 35 states and 6 countries to be encouraged by the speakers and fellowship. Children and young people participated in the Children’s Institute, Pre-EXCEL, the ALERT Cadet Challenge, and COMMIT: these programs taught principles from God’s Word in a memorable and engaging way. Special optional sessions were available for students, pastors, and young couples. A Saturday morning session dedicated to helping homeschooling families to center their lives and learning on the pages of Scripture was available, too.
This year the Big Sandy conference commenced with the opening session on Monday evening, which was one day earlier than past Family Conferences. The extra evening allowed for a more relaxed schedule by providing for other evening sessions to dismiss earlier. Many families commented that they appreciated the new schedule because it allowed children to get more rest, enabling moms and dads to enjoy more of the sessions. The revised schedule also opened more time for fellowship with others.
Several of the conference speakers this year were new to Family Conferences. Dean Miller’s message for the students, “God’s Presence in a Godless World,” spoke to many hearts as did his other inspirational messages. Scott Aniol’s session “Why Do We Sing?” was timely and instructional. Steve and Megan Scheibner spoke on marriage and parenting, giving families practical, hands-on tools that they can use at home. More than thirty individuals gave their lives to Christ following a Gospel presentation by speaker and evangelist Tim Lee, and hundreds more responded to the Lord in other ways. Tim Barton, the son of David Barton, shared messages about lessons from history and reminded the attendees of our nation’s Christian Heritage. These speakers were joined by past favorites, including Peter Magnuson, Jobe Martin, Josef Tson, Joe Norvell, Bob Newhouse, Gabe Cleator, and the Duggar and Bates families.
Following the end of the Family Conference, staff shared about the numerous reports they heard or were given. Many families were strengthened and encouraged in their faith, young people were challenged, and memories were made that will be cherished for years to come. One family commented, “Huge thanks again to the staff for hosting an amazing conference! Of the five years that we’ve come, this was the best so far!” Another wrote: “Our family was blessed beyond measure by our time there. The speakers were outstanding, the music excellent, and the fellowship was so rich! Our son Joe was in ‘little boy heaven’ doing the ALERT Cadet Challenge. That has been the highlight of his year. It brought us great joy to see our girls having the opportunity to fellowship with other Godly young ladies. They were blessed immensely.”
For more pictures from the Big Sandy Family Conference, view the 2018 Big Sandy Family Conference album.