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Speed the Light Sees Increased Giving

Speed the Light experienced a healthy increase in giving over the previous year, however, in order to meet the needs of an increasing number of missionaries, more must be done.

With its best giving year since 2011, Speed the Light (STL), the Assemblies of God national youth missions effort, exceeded last year’s giving by more than $500,000 and at the same time helped STL eclipse the lifetime $300 million giving mark. 

According to Eli Macha, National Youth Ministries communications and content strategist, $8,795,123.89 was raised in 2016 for STL. 

STL is all about essential transportation, creative communication, and compassionate demonstration as it provides these resources for AG missionaries in the U.S. and abroad to help them reach people for Christ. It was created in 1944 by former National Youth Ministries leader Ralph Harris as a way for young people to take ownership of the Great Commission. That first year, more than $113,000 was given. Now, after 73 years, a total of $303,427,657.35 has been raised through STL for missionaries. In 2019 it will celebrate its diamond (75th) anniversary at the National Youth Convention held in conjunction with General Council. 

“What many people don’t realize is that STL partners with Convoy of Hope in their transportation efforts to get aid where it’s most needed following a disaster as well as in ministry outreach events,” says Heath Adamson, senior director for National Youth Ministries. “Of course, this is in addition to providing missionaries with SUVs, cars, vans, motorcycles, boats, or even donkeys — as some of our missionaries have to travel where roads don’t even exist.” 

Adamson says he is grateful for all the hard work and the increase in giving in 2016, but the needs are greater than ever. 

“We just had nearly 2,000 students pledge a year and consider giving a lifetime to missions at The World Missions Summit in January, and we already have a growing number of missionaries on the field,” Adamson says. “We have the willing workers, now it’s up to the rest of us to put the tools they need into their hands.” 

In order to see Speed the Light go above and beyond in meeting the growing need, Adamson asks that youth leaders contact their district youth directors and plug in to district events and ideas to make STL missions a focal point in every youth group. He’s also challenged each district to increase its STL giving by 25 percent in 2017 to help STL break $10 million this year. 

“When youth groups start placing the needs of others in front of their own; when they make God’s cause, their cause,” Adamson says, “that’s when you start to see spiritual transformation in the hearts and lives of youth!”

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.