Speaker Q&A with Bill Bray: Helping Teens Know & Share Christ

We're delighted to have Bill Bray as a speaker at Think Well 2018 on the topic of "Sharing Your Faith" (speaking in two session on Friday, June 29). He is a founding pastor/elder of a local church (more on that below) and holds degrees from Texas A&M (undergraduate degree in industrial engineering) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (master's in religious education). Without further ado, here's a little more about him and his heart for young people!

Tell us a little about who you are and what you do here in town.

In a nutshell, I am a Christian, husband, dad, and pastor in that order. I moved to Charlottesville almost 10 years ago to plant Charlottesville Community Church (CCC) with one of my best friends from college, and I have loved this adventure. I love Jesus and really have a heart for the local church. As one of the pastors at CCC, I serve on our teaching team and head up our community groups, discipleship, and local outreach. Personally, I have been married to my best friend and lovely wife, Tara, for almost two years now, and we just recently welcomed our little boy, Parker, into the world 7 weeks ago. So right now, my world revolves mostly around them!

You are speaking on evangelism at Think Well; can you tell us a little bit about where you're coming from on this topic and how this became a passion for you? Why is it an important area to "think well" about?

I think my passion for evangelism was stirred during the church planting process. When we arrived in Charlottesville, we received some training in relational ways to share our faith, and as we took those tools and applied them in the city, I was amazed to find how many people were open and receptive to conversations about faith. That's what I hope to encourage students to "Think Well" about during our time. I want to try to help remove the fear of evangelism for students and give them a few tools to help them feel confident in sharing their faith with others.

What excites you about Think Well as a whole (beyond just your own session topic)?

Think Well excites me because I was a youth pastor for over 10 years in my previous life! I love teenagers and have a heart to see them maintain, deepen, and be able to defend and articulate their faith during these incredibly formative years and as they prepare to head off to college. Not only that, but teenagers and young adults have played a vital role in virtually every movement of God throughout history, and so I have a desire to see this next generation get training so that they can be used mightily by the Lord.

On a lighter note, how do you like to spend your free time?

Like I mentioned earlier, most of my free time these days is spent staring at my son, cuddling and rocking him, and introducing him to all things Charlottesville. I also love all things sports-related and enjoy playing and/or watching them as time allows.

What's your favorite Bible verse?

My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 16:11, which says, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forever." I love this verse because it reminds me that God—and He only—knows the path that leads to life. In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures forever. The world tries to convince us that it is the source of joy and pleasure, but this verse reminds me that that's not true at all; this verse serves as an encouragement to pursue those things in Christ alone!

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