If there's a common denominator among leaders at a national youth conference in Colorado this weekend, it is in a word: Adversity.
The founder was nearly aborted before birth and didn't know his father growing up among hard-partying, violent body builders who did jail time.
One of the main speakers lived for drugs and alcohol.
Four band members fled Russia as political refugees.
The speakers and musicians will tell their stories of overcoming adversity before thousands of teenagers Friday and Saturday at the Budweiser Event Center, the second stop on the eight-city Follow Tour, presented by Dare2Share Ministries.
Sponsored by Colorado Christian University, the two-day event combines worship, training and outreach for high school students and youth leaders excited about sharing their Christian faith. Instruction in evangelism and discipleship precede outreach at homeless shelters, schools and on city streets.
Growing up in one of Denver's toughest inner-city neighborhoods, Greg Stier's life was changed by a relationship with Jesus Christ and, one by one, members of his urban family experienced the same transformation.
Seeing firsthand the power of God to change lives, Stier says, ignited a passion in him to see other "thugs" transformed by grace.
Stier graduated CCU in 1988, and three years later founded Dare2Share with evangelism as its goal.
A sought-after speaker, Stier has been a guest on several nationally televised and syndicated radio programs.
Like Stier, speaker Zane Black says his cheap thrills and temporary highs were eclipsed by a radical encounter with Jesus Christ.
Black tells his story in hopes of inspiring teen audiences to pursue "all-out adventures with Jesus."
Russian brothers Roslan, Nikita, Yan and Illarion say their passion for music is driven by their faith, which they share at Dare2Share conferences as members of Everfound, an Indie rock Christian band. The four moved to Colorado in 1996 with their family of political refugees.
Besides Everfound, musical guests Bugaloo and Moral One will lead worship Feb. 1-2 at the northern Colorado venue.
Other cities on the Follow Tour include Chicago, Seattle, St. Louis, Chattanooga, Columbus, Lincoln and Washington D.C.