In what may be a first for Colorado and the nation, students attending a youth conference were baptized at the state Capitol in Denver, where pastors and ministry leaders placed a corrugated metal trough just below the office window of Gov. Jared Polis.
Just as teens and adults stepped into the water on two consecutive afternoons, the sky over Denver poured torrential rain that soaked candidates enough to qualify as baptism. But mere sprinkling of new believers or people returning to the Lord in Denver was only the beginning; they were then fully immersed in water and raised to new life—to the sounds and sights of cheers and cameras.
People making these commitments were dunked during the three-day youth conference, which included 60 hours of continual prayer and worship as well as equipping students for ministry outreach by charismatic leaders Lou Engle, Gary Black and Chad Dedmon.
Those who received ministry from the students followed them to the Capitol for worship and baptism, and still others were drawn by the sounds and sights of music and dance declaring, "Jesus is the standard."
Depression, unforgiveness, addiction, abuse, pornography, comparison, anxiety, gender neutrality and a sexual agenda directed at youth are not standards worthy of their generation, said Shannon Clark.
The ministry Clark leads, The Standard, hosted the conference with assistance from Youth With A Mission (YWAM), pastors and churches from Denver to Colorado Springs, in praying for and ministering to students hungry for hope and direction.
The Standard's prophetic name and mission mirrors the words of Isaiah 59:19, which reads: "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him."
Broken by suicide and mass shootings across the nation, Clark told the Lord she would begin in Colorado and then raise The Standard wherever he leads. She believes the Lord spoke to her in a prophetic dream, saying, "The Standard is for the nation."
Declaring Jesus is the standard against a spirit of suicide targeting youth, Clark opened the conference by asking students: "How many of you know somebody who has attempted suicide, or who has committed suicide?"
A former youth pastor and graduate of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California, Clark told students they were called to be like the biblical King Josiah, who turned his nation from idols.
She then asked students to raise their hands if they wanted to received Jesus as Savior and Lord. A high schooler named Haven was the first to respond and, the next day, he told his peers Jesus had delivered him from anxiety.
"Lord, show them what you want; what's important," said Haven, who was baptized in rain and the water trough that afternoon.
A girl named Libby said she had suffered from severe depression since the fourth grade. "But that's not my testimony," she told her peers from the stage. "This is: I've had difficulty with someone—a guy—because of painful memories. I'm on a new path toward forgiving, seeing him every day."
Another girl with a torn meniscus and ACL injury received prayer for healing of those and other conditions. She testified of improvement after healing hands were placed on her, accompanied by prayer.
Clark declared over students, "You're called to be like the biblical King Josiah, who was anointed to rule at 8 years old. Talk about a major pressure role. Me, being a queen as a 31-year-old, let alone an 8-year-old, isn't right."
At 18, Josiah realizes his nation needs to knock down idols that the people have exalted in their hearts above the one true God.
"I'm calling the Josiahs out in this moment," Clark said.
"You guys are called to make wrong things right in our world, to be the light in your school, in your sphere of influence, tearing down the things like a spirit of suicide that have exalted themselves, like mass shootings, like all of these things that have exalted themselves above God.
"You guys will go: 'Nope. Not in my high school anymore. Not in my middle school anymore. Not in my college anymore.' This is who you are," Clark said.
This Josiah generation, Clark said, is called to find the word of the Lord for this season and declare it in their spheres of influence. "Kingdom righteousness looks like the lost become saved, the hopeless come into family, and the broken are made whole.
"That's what kingdom justice looks like, and I believe we are dispersing the kingdom of darkness with the kingdom of God," Clark said. "The types of things God is bringing are, honestly, judgment on the demonic, but it's going to look like the lost coming home."
One of those prodigals—a woman named Rachel—was drawn to the worship and crowd gathered at the Capitol. Tossing her old life of abuse, drugs and alcohol away after receiving one-on-one ministry from a leader, Rachel decided to get baptized. Later, she was invited to the youth conference where, from the stage, Rachel spoke to teenagers about her newfound freedom.
"Rachel is the one we've been praying for, really for people like Rachel to wander in and have an encounter with God," Clark said. "She had a turning-point moment on a significant scale."
Missionary, pastor and author Gary Black, who lost a son to suicide in 2013, told students he held on to hope in the process of grieving the agonizing end to his marriage and his son's life. He told students to look up.
"There's a whole new thing God's doing on the planet (using) COVID and stuff. I'm going to show you right now hope is coming.
"We win this thing. Do you know what Jesus said of the end of the age? He said the harvest is the end of the age," said Black, who with Engle led youth movements Rock the Nations, Prayer Storm and later The Call.
"I know you're going to hear a lot about this," Black said. "I love revival, but I'm not looking for it.
"Guess what?" Black asked students. "You are revival. You are the human embodiment of Jesus Christ. You are God with skin on the planet."
Clark said harvest is here.
"It's harvest, and it's out there. We are in harvest. We are fully in harvest. The wheatfields are ready and ripe and so, for me, there's something about getting your hands dirty, the nitty, gritty of that," she said.
Engle encouraged students to declare truth over their lives for healing from long-lasting depression and anxiety. Inviting them on a pilgrimage with God based on Psalm 139, Engle exhorted students to speak blessings and the Word of God over themselves, and to prophesy as they lay hands on their heads and hearts for 30 days.
Steve Rees is a former general assignment reporter who, with one other journalist, first wrote about the national men's movement Promise Keepers from his home in Colorado. Rees and Promise Keepers Founder Bill McCartney attended the Boulder Vineyard. Today Rees writes in his free time.
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