Michael Peace was born and raised in New York City as the second oldest of four children. He has recorded four rap albums with Reunion Records. His 1994 release "Outta Control" contains all the sounds of the inner-city and is his most provocative, hard hitting album. Considered the Grandfather of Christian Hip-Hop, he is well respected and mentors young artists nationally. In 1994, Michael received the “African-American of Distinction” award for his commitment to urban communities from then NY Governor Mario Cuomo.
"The hardened streets of America are my mission field,” says Michael, "That's where I grew up.” One day the Lord spoke to me and said, "If you don't go, who will?" Michael is the Founder and President of Michael Peace and Associates, a multi-faceted youth, urban affairs, music and general consulting organization. He has developed curriculum for educational at risk children and part of a team spearheading the establishing of abstinence education funding for the city of Rochester, City-Wide Black Experience History game as well as an instructor in public schools. Additionally, Michael leads a youth ministry team into the Industry School, a minimum security state facility for youth every 1st and 2nd Sunday of the month.
Michael is a great baseball enthusiast and above all of what he does, he finds his greatest fulfillment being the Urban Children’s Pastor of Bethel Express and the “Remix,” an urban youth outreach in Rochester, NY. He has been married to Julia over 23 years, they have one son Roberto J.D., and a host of spiritual children.
Derek will serve as one of our keynote speakers this year at Excel. Derek is the lead Pastor/Elder at GraceLife Church in Avon, NY. He is also an author, worship artist, and speaker with the ministry focus of strengthening believers to be life-giving followers of Jesus. His passion is to see believers everywhere experiencing the grace of God, resulting in a lifestyle of worship and evangelism. Derek is also the lead singer and founder of Isaiah Six, our worship band at Excel. His solo album, “Prophets and Princes” came out in 2007. Derek has been to over 13 nations, including serving for a year in Tanzania, East Africa, where he nearly died of malaria.
Associated with Elim Fellowship, an international fellowship of churches and ministries, Derek also serves as an elder of the movement, and an instructor at Elim Bible Institute. Together, Derek and wife Heidi Jo live in Lima, NY, with their six children.
A native of PG County Maryland, son of a pastor, and now husband, Jason “Humble Tip” Lewis is no stranger to the Christian faith, giving his life to the Lord at a young age. This Emcee explains “I never wanted to do this whole rap thing. I wanted to go to school and become a sports agent. I never, ever saw myself rapping.” In fact, his father almost had to force him to do his first performance.
As time passed, Humble on his own in Lynchburg to search out how God would like to use him. And He showed him in a major way, by using a relationship already developed with Liberty University’s recruitment. A very unique partnership with Liberty University was formed between them and Humble that allows him to promote the school as Humble Tip, while still being Jason Lewis, the national recruiter.
Armed with in depth knowledge of God’s word, academic success, and a deep connection with and passion for this youthful generation, Humble Tip is determined and focused on making an impact on the culture. Jason has an Undergraduate degree in Health Promotions and a Master’s Degree in Health and Wellness from Liberty University, and currently resides in Lynchburg, VA with his wife Essence.
There's no denying much of today's music has the power to move the masses physically. Inventive beats and hooky choruses are the currency of the day. Now enter Capital Kings, a talented duo that blends pop, electronic dance music, and rap into an intoxicating musical mix that makes audiences want to move, and yet there's a thought-provoking, life-affirming undercurrent. Capital Kings combine style with substance and introduce flash with a foundation.
Their latest album is simply called REMIXD and features a combination of music from them and other well known Christian artists.
Check them out at www.capitalkingsmusic.com
Hailing from the Rochester, NY area, the Jeff Parshall Band has been leading worship among high school and college students for years. Several of the band members have also played with Isaiah Six. Jeff Parshall is a worship leader and speaker who ministers with a passion for people to genuinely encounter and be transformed by the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
CZ (Curtis Zackery) combines a passion for communication with a desire to see lives changed for Jesus Christ. With his energetic stage presence and charismatic persona, he spreads truth to audiences all across the world. His God-given ability to connect with people of all ages, races and backgrounds sets him apart from the average speaker. CZ is committed to sharing the love of the Bible and hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
CZ graduated from Liberty University and continued his schooling at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, CA. He worked as the program director at Kids Across America before taking on a pastoral role at a church in Franklin, TN. Curtis and his wife Monique are currently serving a church plant in Richmond, California.
Gracie recorded her first single when she was 9-years-old. Her first music video became a hit on KTV (Kids & Teens TV) at age 13. Now 16, she's an early blossom with a wholesome message and a spirit that will win your heart after one listen. Her singer-songwriter style with pop, rock, soul, and blues flavors are the perfect blend for her mature vocals, and her spiritual emphasis will keep you looking at life through her music. Her honest songwriting aims to understand and encourage the broken, especially teen girls.
She’s also a worship leader and always mixes vertical gospel-centered music into her sets. International journeys to Uganda and Guatemala had a big impact on her life and certainly influence the heart in her songs. She presently lives in Avon, NY where she attends public high school, plays volleyball and performs in musicals, and lives with her parents and five siblings.
By his early 20s, DJ Promote was entrenched in the hip-hop scene. He was DJ-ing parties, youth events and any place that he could. However, something was still missing. It started when DJ Promote returned back to his small town one year to find that his family had started going to church. “I could tell they were different. There wasn’t as much arguing. It was calmer. I didn’t understand everything at the time, but I remember thinking, ‘Whatever they have, I want.”
After accepting Christ, DJ Promote turned his passion into a vehicle of soul expression. He started mixing notable Christian hip-hop artists of the time. He created websites, did break dancing events and eventually became a fixture in the scene. Today, he has more projects under his belt including Syntax Records’ Wages of Syntax volume 2 and the label’s compilation series, Night Owls, on which DJ Promote mixed for volumes three, four and five. In spite of his success, he considers himself a latecomer to the game with room for improvement. “It’s all about learning and never thinking that you’ve got it down.”
How does this talented DJ keep himself grounded? He is constant remembrance that it’s not about him. “I keep looking back at all the things that God has done. God has taken me through all those steps to make music and have fun. For me it’s about getting people excited and then how can I turn this excitement into something that will impact forever. I want it to show that God is real. My job is just to be creative so God can work.” Promote is currently on tour with Lecrae supporting his new album Anomoly. Promote and his wife live in Nashville, TN.
Reserving hotel/motel rooms for your conference weekend is completely in your hands. We have secured special pricing from a number of hotels/motels in Saratoga Springs, listed below. There are also other hotels and bed & breakfast facilities available. Visit the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau at www.discoversaratoga.org and click on “Saratoga Lodging.” Be sure you have a hotel reservation form in hand when reserving rooms. Each hotel/motel expects to receive this form from you in order to confirm your reservations.
The Saratoga Hilton (Excel Headquarters Hotel)
Saratoga Springs, NY12866
P: (518) 584-4000
F: (518) 584-7430
All Rooms $107/night
Courtyard by Marriott Hotel
11 Excelsior Ave.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
P: (518) 226-0049
F: (518) 226-0542
Saratoga Downtowner Motel
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
P: (518) 584-6160; 800-480-6160
F: (518) 584-2907
All Rooms $109/night
Hampton Inn & Suites
25 Lake Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
P: (518) 584-2100
F: (518) 584-1700
Hilton Garden Inn Saratoga Springs
125 South Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
P: (518) 583-6875; (518) 587-1500 ext. 492
This is an annual time where students across the globe gather around their school flagpoles or perhaps a key location for homeschoolers to pray for the school year, for their classmates, teachers and staff.
It usually begins at 7:00 AM but that will depend on your school's schedule. Be sure to check with your principal or guidance counselor to make sure you have permission to gather that morning.
Youth for Christ USA seeks to equip teenagers to become life-long followers of Jesus Christ. With over 1500 staff worldwide and ministry from coast to coast in the states, YFC continues to reach out to young people who need someone who can share God's Word and Christ's salvation.
Website for Excel worship leader Derek Levendusky.
The purpose of Point Break is to improve the behaviors, values, and attitudes of high school students on their campuses and in their communities, intervening before acts of hatred or violence occur. As a result, better learning environments are created, relationships are forged and reconciliations begins.
Point Break seeks to encourage character, confidence and responsibility in the lives of adolescents. Today, with higher educational standards, busier personal schedules and social issues such as harassment, prejudice, bullying, and suicide, Point Break Workshops were developed to help schools respond to these issues.
Point Break New York presents Gotcha Back, a half-day workshop designed for that age group. Plus, the Bridges Peer 2 Peer Mentoring Program gives schools a 10-week follow workshop for seniors and freshman to be used to further connect students to what they learned and experienced at Point Break workshop.
Break Out is YFC's annual conference for middle school students and their church youth leaders. Like Excel, Break Out combines worship, music, games, teaching, laughter, comedy and more to create a weekend experience designed to help students grow in their faith in Christ...or perhaps surrender their lives to Him.
Any large event like the Excel or Break Out conferences cannot happen without an outstanding crew of volunteers giving of their time and themselves to serve kids and youth leaders. Youth for Christ has a number of volunteer needs throughout each conference weekend. They include, but are not limited to:
If you are interested in volunteering for Excel, please click on the Volunteer Application Form AND the Volunteer Activity Selection Form links on the right sidebar; download the forms; print them; fill them out and then mail or fax them to:
Youth for Christ, P.O. Box 443, Halfmoon, NY 12065
ATTN: Conference Volunteers.
To volunteer at Excel, you must have completed your second year of college and are at least 18 years of age. Thank you for being willing to help YFC during our annual conferences.
God Will Take Me Back
I feel like I had a lot of junk going on in my life that was pulling me away from God and that I was holding onto. So Excel has helped me realize that God WILL take me back and still loves me.
Changing My Prayer Life
Because I went to Excel, I'm going to change the way I pray to be less about me.
Excel X 2
This is only my second year and I have learned a lot. I had so much fun both of the times I have come. Everything was aweswome, amazing, wonderful and fantastic!
I'm Willing to Pay the Price
One change that I want to make as a result of my experiences at Excel is to be willing to pay the price to go deeper with Jesus. I was also sitting on the edge of my seat for all four of the seminars I went to.
Kids Committing to Christ
One of my favorite moments from Excel was seeing one girl in our group give her life to Jesus and three others rededicate their lives to Him! Then, as we prayed for the person on our left, the Holy Spirit was filling the room. So very powerful! Some felt Him for the first time.
Dumping a Bad Habit
I am going to try and end a habit that is keeping me from Christ.
New Life in Christ
One of the highlights of Excel for me was seeing the two girls I came with pray for Jesus to come into their lives!
No More Ankle Deep Faith
One change I'm going to make in my faith journey with Christ as a result of my experience at Excel is to work on getting out of "ankle deep water" faith and be ready for more - swimming instead.