The Rise


The Rise • Students celebrate at one of the Rise events at Macedonia Baptist Church in Longview. Courtesy Photo.

The East Texas Rise is a popular church event that many high school students attend each year. It took place from January 26-29, 2023. It was started by multiple pastors in hopes for it to grow throughout the years. Many churches attend each year, and it is a life-changing event for many teens in East Texas.

“The Rise definitely helped me open up to the friends I had about things I’d never been able to share before,” freshman Breleigh Warlick said. “Another person who happened to be volunteering there had gone through the same things that I had, and we ended up talking about it together. I felt a lot less alone because of it, and I think God knew what he was doing when he brought that person there.

The Rise conference is created for youth to sign up through their church, or a friend’s church. It is held in a different place each year. The past few years it was held at The LeTourneau University Belcher Center.

This year, The Rise was held at Macedonia Baptist Church in Longview. Worship and speaking sessions are held with everybody at this church, and the rest of the time is spent with whatever each church wants to do.

“My favorite message from the weekend was at the Friday night worship session,” senior Ashtyn Lucas said. “It really spoke to me when Shep told us all about his background and shared his testimony. It’s amazing how God can work through anybody to save someone’s life.”

For worship sessions, there is a worship band that is hired to lead worship and a speaker that is also hired to preach at every session. This year, the band “Bridge Worship” was hired to lead worship and Shep, a motivational speaker who often preaches to athletes and youth, was hired to speak.

There are also shirts, sweatshirts, and other accessories that were sold in the church lobby close to the sanctuary. Students had the opportunity to buy them before and after each session.“My favorite moment from the weekend was during worship,” sophomore Kalie Cooper said. “I looked forward to it every single day, and it was so special. There was one song we sang, ‘Light a Fire’, that I really loved. The lyrics to the song spoke to me and it’s now one of my favorite songs.”

On Thursday night, everybody who signed up for The Rise gathered at Macedonia for the first worship session. After school on Friday everyone gathered once again for worship session number 2. The next morning, each church had breakfast on their own and met for worship session number 3 at 10:00 a.m. This time, there was more singing, and Shep didn’t speak.

There were several chances to pray as a group, in pairs, or alone. After worship on Saturday ended, rec time lasted for 4 hours. This was when everybody split up once again and churches planned their own activities and schedules for their youth group.

After dinner, Macedonia was filled with youth once again, to end the weekend with one last speaking/ worship session. There were glow- sticks handed out at the end, and everyone was very energetic, ending the weekend on a good note.

“I think my favorite message from the rise was that love is an action, and action speaks louder than words do,” Warlick said. “You can constantly quote Bible verses and tell people that if they don’t believe in Jesus then they aren’t going to heaven, but at the end of the day, if you’re not actually showing God’s love, then you’re just giving that person a bad example of what it really is.”

The Rise makes a huge impact on the youth in East Texas. Many people are saved each year, and lives are changed.

Even though it’s in the middle of the school year, it is very impactful. When everyone is getting tired and burnt out mid-year, this event reinvigorates students and makes the winter months a time to look forward to.