What was originally planned as a one-time event... has become widely known as the premiere student conference in Southeast Texas.
The Hot Hearts Regional Evangelism Conference was born out of a small gathering of Youth Ministers in Southeast Texas in 1986. Their primary mission was rooted in the desire to impact the lives of local students with the message of the Gospel. United in their vision, they set out to bring to their local students a professionally produced conference that would rival prestigious events in larger cities. Having an event of this scale locally would allow many more students to attend. What was originally planned as a one-time event in January of 1987, now 30 years later, has become widely known as the premiere student conference in Southeast Texas.
As the original team planned for the very first Hot Hearts, none could have imagined what was going to take place. Preparations were made for up to 800 students to converge on the Holiday Inn Beaumont Plaza. However, God had other plans. On opening night a total of 1,250 attended the first ever Hot Hearts Conference.
In 1988 the conference saw a change in venue from the Beaumont Holiday Inn to the Port Arthur Civic Center. The first year in Port Arthur, the conference saw an attendance of 1,500 students. In the years that followed Hot Hearts saw continued growth. In 1994 every seat in the Port Arthur Civic Center was filled with a total attendance of 2,976. This would necessitate the move of the conference back to its home town. While plans were being made to move the conference to a larger venue, plans were also being made to move the conference to other cities.
With the move from Port Arthur back to Beaumont, Hot Hearts experienced an 80% increase bringing the attendance to 5,400. This marked Hot Hearts as the largest two-day event ever held in the Beaumont Civic Center. That same year five other cities decided to host their own Hot Hearts.
By 1996, when conferences had finished in Beaumont, El Paso, Lubbock, Texarkana, Bryan/College Station and Corpus Christi over 17,000 people had attended, including 400 adults who attended Hot Hearts for Parents, held in conjunction with the Beaumont conference. The 17,732 attendees represented 792 churches from six states (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona) and two countries (the United States and Mexico). Five of the six Hot Hearts sites sold out their venues turning away more than 1,200 people. The only site that didn't sell out was 19 short of a packed house.
What God Has Accomplished
Since its inception Hot Hearts has impacted the lives of thousands, resulting in life-changing decisions to follow Christ. It is estimated that well over 5,000 students have given their lives to Jesus Christ at a Hot Hearts event. More than 6,000 students have made other decisions to follow Christ and many others have committed their lives to full time ministry. The conference has continued to grow beyond the boundaries of Southeast Texas. Reaching as far north as Springdale, AR as far west as El Paso, TX as far south as Corpus Christi, TX and as far east as Alexandria, LA, the various conferences have touched an estimated 190,000 lives.