With the recent February announcement of its high-wattage speaker and worship lineup (bigwigs like Rich and DawnChere Wilkerson, Tim Tebow, Kari Jobe, Chad Veach, John Gray, Elevation Worship and Hillsong Young & Free are all making an appearance), Motion 16 Conference drove 3,000 registrations six months before it takes place. The 7-year-old youth event happens each July before school returns to ensure kids enter school strong in their faith. Mark Pettus is president of Highlands College (serving 700 students), associate pastor at Birmingham, Alabama’s Church of the Highlands and the man behind Motion. Here, he reveals how the event began, what makes it different and why his team is telling youth to Go Forth.
What drew you to Church of the Highlands?
Pastor Chris [Hodges] planted [Church of the Highlands] in the first few weeks I started at college nearby. I was with Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus, and one night we went to Birmingham-Southern College to their FCA meeting and he spoke. The next Sunday I went with my girlfriend—now my wife—to check out the church and we never left. COH is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and we have 13 campuses now.