By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Youth moving forward in faith
Annual Forward Conference to inspire and invigorate teens
Students gather in June 2014 for the Forward Conference. This year’s conference is already sold out, according to the organizers. However, youths and adults interested in watching the event can view it through a live stream.

Forward Conference

When: June 25-27

How much: $30 live streaming

More info:

In less than a week, about 13,000 students will gather at the Arena at Gwinnett Center to celebrate their faith and Jesus.

“The Forward Conference’s main goal is to make Jesus famous,” Free Chapel youth pastor Blake Hamon said.

While in college and attending for the first time in 2008, Hamon felt overwhelmed by the experience but in a positive way.

“It broadened my perspective and faith,” said the pastor who is based at Free Chapel in Gainesville.

Meant for high school-aged youth, the conference has grown to include middle school- and college-aged students as well.

“Each year it gets better and better,” Hamon said.

This year the conference will present recording artist Lecrae, Miami pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr., popular public school speaker Reggie Dabbs, pastor Steven Furtick, Free Chapel senior pastor Jentezen Franklin and author and singer Beth Redman. Musical acts and singers schedule to appear include Elevation Worship, Jesus Culture Band, Banning Liebscher, Israel Houghton and Free Chapel Music.

“I have more of a drive, more of an investment into what I hope these students experience,” Hamon said.

With planning for the conference starting the year before, marketing director for Free Chapel Savanna Colwell, said from day one you can feel the excitement in the room.

“It brings the kids to tears and is a chill-bump moment,” Colwell said.

Each year the conferences are different. But the Free Chapel team has already started planning the conference for 2016.

“It is a conference like no other,” Colwell said.

Selling 12,000 seats and then box-seats, the conference estimates 13,000 attendants. In fact, the conference is already sold out, according to organizers.

The conference will have people from all over the country and “from about eight to 10 other countries,” Hamon said.

For those who do not have the ability to attend, live streaming will be at for $30.

Hamon encourages people to gather as a group and stream it to hear the messages and have the fellowship.

“You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Hamon said.

The Forward Conference takes place from June 25-27. For more information, visit