It’s only a little over 2 weeks until PTP! The amount of time, energy and prayer that goes into planning an event of this magnitude each year is simply mind-boggling. And Christians everywhere are blessed by those who come to renew, refresh and recharge their spiritual batteries at PTP. To say the impact of PTP is far reaching and even eternal is not an understatement – and to God belongs all the glory. Perhaps this is why PTP has experienced such phenomenal growth; no one cares about who gets the credit as long as God gets the glory (cf. John 3:30; 1 Corinthians 10:31). An emphasis upon the character of God, respecting His word, study, worship and praise, fellowship and building up the body of Christ make PTP a brotherhood event in the very best sense.
Whether you are attending PTP for the first time or are a “veteran,” let me suggest 10 Things You Simply Must Do at PTP. Let me be quick to say that limiting it to 10 is tough! There’s simply so much to do and experience at PTP. These suggestions are humbly offered with the hope that they will make a great experience even greater. Here they are – in no particular order.
- By all means, attend the “Beardless to Greybeards” session. Past, present and future in the church beautifully and incredibly converge. You will hear young men preach God’s word and it will thrill your soul. You will also listen to wisdom, wit and experience of men who each have over 50 years of preaching.
- Spend some time in the Book and Exhibit Room. This year, there’s a full-size New Testament village! There is a wealth of helpful information available on display about good works going on in the body of Christ. There are useful books and materials available for purchase should you desire, but there also is much that’s free.
- Take advantage of PTP study tracks. Every year PTP offers study tracks in areas like leadership, preaching, marriage & family, counseling and youth. One can consider these tracks valuable as “continuing education” and even get a certificate of completion!
- Make a new friend. While PTP is a great “family reunion,” it also is a place for making new friends. Last year, people from almost every state and from ten foreign countries attended. Look for people who might be alone. Greet them and get to know them. The beauty of Christian fellowship extends well beyond state and national boarders.
- Begin your morning with God in the great Smoky Mountains. Each year at PTP there are “early bird” sessions. There are also nature walks with times of prayer and singing. Some Christians get together for a morning jog. You can make make inquiries about all these or check the PTP schedule.
- Listen and join in during a time of singing of the teens (We all should be young of heart!). The joy you will experience cannot easily be put into words. Every year at PTP one can experience some of the sweetest singing this side of heaven! Great worship opportunities abound at PTP!
- Take advantage of some of the special “extras.” No one can accuse PTP of not adding new opportunities to grow in Christ. For example this year there’s a trip to Laurel Falls to see the creation evidence that abounds in this pristine area. There also will be the viewing of a special solar eclipse from a Christian perspective (and you have one of the best views in the land at PTP). Talk about special opportunities!
- Take time to see the faith and smiles of children who attend the excellent children’s classes and activities. It is marvelous to see how the kids grow closer to God and each other.
- Make it a point to seek out and thank the Jacksonville elders who oversee this work. Thank those who are involved in registration, those who are involved in audio / video work, those who are involved in set-up and clean-up, etc. and please do also thank the directors of the program. The directors of PTP are very rarely seen “center stage,” but their thoughtfulness and attention to detail bless all who attend.
- Fill your soul with the things of God while at PTP and take it home and share with others. PTP does not achieve its ultimate goal without good people gladly sharing what they’ve learned with others to the praise and glory of God.—Mike Vestal