Unlike most “back to school” promotions, Joshua Revolution doesn’t focus on books, or school clothes or school supplies; they focus on Jesus.
At a time when God has been banished from public schools, how does Joshua Revolution encourage teens to go forward and spread God’s Word? According to Michael Chorey, 57, executive director and founder of Joshua Revolution, through worship, fellowship and of course, fun.
“My goal is to help young people get excited enough to share their faith and the Gospel with their whole school, and for the entire [student body] to be spiritually awakened,” explained Chorey.
Chorey has always had a gift for working with youth. As a child he loved playing sports, and as he grew older, he transitioned into coaching football and Little League for younger students.
“I realized I got a lot more out of coaching than I did playing,” explained Chorey.
In his late teens Chorey gave his life to Jesus and realized that coaching gave him the opportunity to share Jesus with his young players. In his 20s, God called him into full-time youth ministry.
Chorey worked in youth ministry for the next several years and became affiliated with Niagara Youth for Christ organization, a group that offered spiritual and social programs to teens to help them create a strong relationship with Jesus.
In 1993, local church youth groups, including Chorey’s, from different denominations gathered together in Niagara Falls with the intention of bringing the Gospel to as many middle and high school students as possible in the area. That first conference, Niagara Youth Conference, brought 529 students together.
By 1998, the Niagara Youth Conference had grown to an annual event, with approximately 5,000 students attending from all over the country as well as Canada each year. The students attending the conference not only understood how God could change their lives, but they also received training on how to become on-campus missionaries for their schools and youth groups.
As attendance at the conference grew each year, interest in additional conferences began to build. In October 1999, a 2-day Miles Ahead Youth Crusade in downtown Buffalo hosted over 30,000 students and adults. It seemed apparent to youth leaders like Chorey that God wanted back in the public-school system and the youth of the world was going to help make it happen.
Launching Joshua Revolution
The Niagara Youth Conference continued to draw larger crowds, and nothing seemed to deter the excitement of those in attendance. On December 29, 2001, over 5,000 students, including representatives from Fort Lauderdale and Birmingham, Alabama, braved a record 84 inches of snow to attend that year’s conference. It was at that conference that Chorey felt led to launch Joshua Revolution, as a national ministry that would assist different churches of all denominations and cultures across America to reach out to students in middle and senior high schools and help them realize how Jesus can change not only their life, but the lives of their peers and teachers.
“I began to pray,” explained Chorey. “I didn’t know anything about how to reach other cities, but the Lord told me to read the book of Joshua. I studied it and read how the children of Israel went from city to city to spread the word of God. I realized that was what He wanted [me to do]. I was even strategic in naming the organization. A revolution means to create a sudden and dramatic change. I named the organization, Joshua Revolution, because it could bring Jesus into a young person’s heart and radically change his or her life,” explained Chorey.
According to Chorey, the goal for the non-profit, Joshua Revolution is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every young person, and train and support students in their efforts to spread God’s word. The organization also hosts annual conferences and events for youth pastors to bring their groups to in order to understand how the power of God and faith in Jesus can change their lives. The Joshua Revolution also sponsors a bible school, The School of Joshua (SOJ), that teaches the Word of God. The organization is supported by donation.
“We have no major sponsors,” explained Chorey. “We have individual people who support us monthly and a we receive a small part of church missionary support from our church, CrossRiver Tabernacle. We are very thankful for this support and couldn’t sustain ourselves without it.”
In 2002, as Joshua Revolution began to grow, due to venue issues in Niagara Falls, the Niagara Youth Conference was struggling. The conference was forced to relocate first to Buffalo for two years, and then to Rochester for the next three years. As attendance numbers grew, concern for accommodations for the growing crowds grew as well. In 2007, the Niagara Youth Conference returned to the Niagara area where it remained until 2012. Forced into smaller venues, the Niagara Youth Conference eventually made the decision to put an end to the conferences.
During this time however, the Joshua Revolution gained momentum. In 2006, Joshua Revolution held its first 3-day “Field of Miracles” Crusade in Rochester, and a record 17,000 young people and adults attended. The ministry held another crusade in 2013, in Niagara Falls, again with record attendance. With Niagara Youth Conference at an end, Joshua Revolution continued to work hard to fill the need of ministering and encouraging youth to bring the Gospel into their lives and back into their schools.
In 2018, Chorey felt that God was encouraging him and his team to bring back the Niagara Youth Conference to celebrate its 25th anniversary and the amazing impact it had on teens and their families over the course of time. In true celebration spirit, Niagara Youth Conference 2018 became “Niagara ‘18: Experience the Power,” the same theme the conference team had launched for its initial conference in 1993.
Joshua Revolution, in honor of how the Niagara Youth Conference had changed so many lives and encouraged many young people into a life of full-time ministry, decided to hold the conference annually once again.
This year the Niagara Youth Conference, Niagara ’19, will be held December 27-30, at The Conference and Events Center of Niagara Falls. The theme this year is “Send Me.”
“The theme of ‘Send Me’ is taken from the book of Isaiah, Chapter six (6:8) when the Lord brought a call from the altar and he [Isaiah] heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ Our hope is that at this conference junior and senior high students will have a true ‘God Encounter’ and be cleansed of their sins and when they hear God call to them asking who will bring the Gospel message to schools, the students will answer the call by saying, ‘Send me, Lord.’”
Niagara ’19 has an impressive lineup of speakers to educate and motivate attendees. Included in the lineup is Craig Scott, one of the founders of Value-Up, a non-profit organization created in 2016 and dedicated to educating students on the value of human life.
Craig Scott was a student at Columbine High School when the mass shooting occurred on April 20, 1999. He was in the library with two of his friends when the gunmen entered. Both Craig’s friends on either side of him were killed. Later Craig discovered his sister, Rachel Joy, was also killed when asked by the gunmen if she “still believed in God.” When Rachel answered yes, she was shot.
“We have brought Craig to our area before to speak to students and he will be at Niagara ’19 to help with the training of students [as campus missionaries]. His sister Rachel was an incredible light and loved Jesus. When young people hear Craig’s story, they can see for themselves the love of Jesus, and understand how it can change lives and bring people together.”
In addition to Scott, Niagara ’19 attendees will also hear from actor Caleb Castille a former student at the University of Alabama who won two national football championships but left the game to become an actor. Castille stars in the movie Woodlawn, a powerful film about a high school dealing with racial tension and forced integration but was later transformed by Christ and experienced a spiritual awakening. The film will be shown during the conference.
Bill Wiese, author of New York Times best seller, 23 Minutes in Hell, will also speak. His book was based on a vision he received from the Lord and he explains how God wants His people to avoid Hell by being saved.
“Bill explains how God took him to Hell [in the vision] and what it was really like. No one ever before pulled out the Scriptures to explain that Hell is a real place, and how we need to come to repentance with God to avoid Hell. Last time we had Bill speak at the conference kids were texting their friends after he spoke saying, ‘Hell is real, and I don’t want you to go there. You need to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.’”
Joining these speakers at the conference will be actor Matthew Schuler, New York Singing Police Officers, Armonde “Moe” Badger and Michael Norwood, Jr. Rounding out the conference team will be Bob Cornell, radio/television personality and associate pastor at Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s Family Worship Church; Pam Stenzel, founder of Enlighten Communication; Charles Ashker, leader of the Joshua Revolution Band; and Samuel Cornell and Rachel Larson Ford, worship leaders for CrossFire Youth.
“When I look at who is coming to the event this year, I think it’s one of the best programs we have put together in a long time,” stated Chorey. “We hit all the main issues in young peoples’ lives. We are hoping that each student has a personal encounter with Jesus, and they are changed.”
The conference will take place during a traditional school break period and begin on Friday night, December 27, 2019 and end at noon on Monday, December 30. The conference is for students in grades 6-12, and attendees must be accompanied by an adult/parent from their family or be part of a youth group that is in attendance. The cost of the conference is $29 per person, which doesn’t include hotel costs/meals for the duration of the event.
“We want to help students understand how to start a campus bible club, how to find resource materials and how to get involved in their local churches,” stated Chorey. “The conference can help youth pastors and students build a network. We want them leaving the conference with a real spiritual vision for their school”
For more information or to purchase tickets to Niagara ’19 Send Me conference visit www.niagaraconference.org. For more information on Joshua Revolution, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 415-5437.