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.
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.
One Voice Anthem is a Christian band from Albany, NY. After years of serving as worship leaders for thousands of believers at their churches, three friends discussed the desire to lead Christians everywhere in worship by writing original music and putting their own passion, gratitude, and praise into song. Following the example of great worshipers past and present, the members of One Voice Anthem seek to bring a thoughtful and powerful message through each song they write, with Scripture being the core inspiration and the freeing truth in every line.
The name One Voice Anthem was chosen because of a vision seen during the first writing session; one person singing praises to God while seemingly standing alone until the viewpoint expands and millions of people around the world are seen singing the same song to the same Savior. With this idea of a united, global anthem, the members of One Voice Anthem are excited to bring Christians from every place and background together to praise the one and only Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
One Voice Anthem is: Caleb Barton (Vocals & Guitar), David Lewicki (Bass), Matt Koonz (Guitar), Tim Pombo (Drums)
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 $109/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.
Closer to God
"This weekend at Excel was truly amazing and life changing! I feel so much closer with God than I ever have before and it feels amazing!"
I Accepted Jesus
"So guys guess what? This weekend, I accepted Jesus into my life and I'm happy. My family is gonna be confused because I've lived life as an atheist for a long time, but whatever." – Declan, student
It Has to Be Real
"It was the first time I saw people worshipping God passionately and authentically and I decided this has to be real." – student
"We had a fantastic weekend at #Excel2015! Thanks to all who attended and all those who worked so hard to make the conference a success!" – Derek, speaker
Something Big is Coming
"Honestly, after sharing my testimony with Curtis Zackery at Excel, I feel so much freer. I feel rejuvenated and refreshed, and so much closer to Christ. I already know He is working in me in ways I don't know yet, but I feel like something big is coming." - Ben, student
Can't Wait to See What's Next
"Exhausted from Excel this weekend and totally bummed that it's over. However it was one of the best Excel weekends I have ever had! We had a wonderful group of teens and a fantastic team of leaders this year. God is definitely moving and I can't wait to see what he has in store!!" – Kara, former Excel student, now a youth leader in her church
God on the Inside & Outside
"This weekend changed me as a person & my attitude . It showed me I have to not only have God on the inside but advertise I do on the outside . From tears to laughs to music to seriousness this weekend is a weekend I'll never forget! I'm glad I get to experience this every year with the most amazing people in the world!" —Jaymee, student
Go Out and Preach
"Had such a great weekend at Excel. Thank you to all the staff and everyone who made it possible. I grew closer to God this weekend. Now I will take what I learned and go out a preach God's word to my friends and enemies! Thank you God!! Had a great time with my friends too!" - student