Courtney was the featured speaker at the "You and Your Girl" conference sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.
Geared to mothers and daughters ages 10-18, the conference drew a live audience of more than 600 while 66 churches around the nation watched via simulcast.
"Young people have too many choices, and it is easy for them to face decision fatigue," Courtney said, citing examples that her favorite coffee shop offers more than 87,000 drink combinations; her TV has 1,000-plus channels; and her smart phone can download more than 100,000 applications.
All of these choices contribute to noise that often distracts girls from the things of God if left unchecked, she said.
"Despite having more choices in life, this generation is depressed and unhappy," Courtney said, noting that more choices can lead to feeling dissatisfied with life.
"Each of us has a natural hunger in our hearts," Courtney told the crowd. "That hunger can only be satisfied in Christ Jesus."
Teaching from John 6, Courtney explained that Christ is the Bread of Life. Jesus in the text declares: "No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again."
Courtney encouraged mothers and daughters to fill up on the Bread of Life each day in order to avoid the ungodly temptations of the world.
"Only Jesus Christ can satisfy our hunger perfectly," she said. "Our goal is to feed our soul with things that build our faith in Christ and fast from the things that tear us down."
Courtney cited Philippians 4:8 and challenged the girls to be true, noble, pure, lovely and admirable.
"This is the message we need to hear," said Angie Teague, who attended the event with her 11-year-old daughter. Teague's mother also attended, reflecting three generations. "We have to instill in our daughters the message of Christ and expose them to messages like Vicki Courtney's to reinforce their value in Christ."
Teague, of Birmingham, Ala., said girls hear too many negative messages. Christ must be central in a girl's life to counter those messages, she said.
"We cannot hear too many positive messages," she said. "We must surround our girls with as many messages of the love of Jesus as we can."
Jackie Gaskins, a mother of four daughters from Gainesville, Ga., attended the April 9 event with her oldest, a fourth-grader. She said the conference reinforced the idea of parenting out of love and not fear.
"We must communicate with our daughters and have a strong relationship with them," Gaskins said. "I also want to model how my girls should live and show them the right way through my actions."
Gaskins said she planned to take back to Gainesville 10 copies of Courtney's "Between" magazine to start a mother/daughter Bible group at her church.
"This event has been the motivation and encouragement that I needed to go back to my church and begin this study," she said.
During the conference, breakout sessions were held separately for moms and daughters. The girls gathered in age-appropriate groups and were challenged to live godly lives. The moms heard from a panel of parenting experts and a message from Courtney.
Courtney illustrated her message to the moms using a clay pot and potting soil.
Parents must nurture and grow their children in God's admonition, Courtney said, citing Deuteronomy 6:7. She said moms also must be brave enough to weed out the unhealthy relationships that grow in their daughters' lives.
"We need to weed peer groups and outside influences," she said. "We must weed around the soil of their hearts."
Courtney also challenged the moms to be servant leaders, stay devoted to the ultimate purpose of raising children and trust God with the results of child rearing.
Courtney is a speaker on youth culture and founder of Virtuous Reality Ministries. She ministers to more than 150,000 girls and mothers each year through her books, conferences and blogs.
Her books include "5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter," "5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son," "Your Girl," "Your Boy," "The Virtuous Woman," "TeenVirtue" and "Between."
The next You and Your Girl event will be Oct. 15 at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.
Kelly Shrout writes for LifeWay Christian Resources. Vicki Courtney is on the Web at VickiCourtney.com.
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