"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man," quoted Barber from Colossians 3:23, his favorite Bible verse.
Barber centered the Maxout Movement around doing everything to its fullest, because, he says, a life fully committed to Christ is the best life someone can live.
"That was my favorite verse since I was 13," he said. "It took me awhile to figure out what it meant to me, but it's always been right there in front of my face."
It's a tall order for a college freshman to organize a massive event, one that Barber and his board of directors, composed of friends, family and business owners, expect to turn out more than 3,000 people to the Pete Mathews Coliseum at the end of January. But Barber has long believed in turning over the reins to God — he credits the Lord with giving him the idea for the conference. Barber merely goes with the flow and directs as needed.
"The Lord put it right on my heart, and made it plain and simple," he said. His support system includes members of JSU's coaching staff, and Barber says that President Meehan showed excitement over the project.
Steven Lee is a former JSU football player, owner of the Allstate Insurance office in Jacksonville, and another member of the board.
"There's a lot of mediocrity in Christianity today, and I think that's evident in our world," said Lee, who also serves as a youth pastor at First Baptist of Wellington. "Christ gave his all for us, and I think we need to do the same in return."
Lee says that he and Barber formed a bond over the last few months thanks to their shared football experience, with Barber's inspirational messages on Twitter resonating with Lee. When he heard of the Maxout Movement, Lee decided to lend a hand to help get the project off the ground.
"People around here have to drive to Atlanta or Birmingham for big events like this," said Lee, mentioning large, Christian-oriented gatherings like the Alive Festival in Ohio and Michigan’s Unity Festival, huge music and worship events that are might be out of reach for local Christians.
"It's a great opportunity to do something like this in our area," he continued.
Maxout will feature motivational speakers like Jeff Bethke, Jeff T. Osborne, Tony Nolan and Will McGee, each focusing on maxing out different parts of life, like grace, relationships and motives — how to live with humility and act for the glory of God.
Lee says that the movement is also working to secure live music and worship leaders, though those announcements will be made closer to the event.
Barber looks forward to seeing what kind of turnout the conference will bring, but he's less interested in sheer numbers than the effect the conference will have.
"If we have 5,000 people show up and we impact even one person, that's all that matters, Heaven's going crazy," he said.
Registration to purchase tickets is currently open at maxoutmovement.com. Tickets are $40 per person for groups with fewer than 20 members, and $30 per person for groups of 20 or more. Volunteer, or "spotter," positions are open as well and applications are available on the website. Follow the movement on Facebook at facebook.com/Maxoutmovement, on Twitter at @maxoutinjville or on Instagram @maxoutmovement. Jayce Barber can be reached at 386-288-5613 for more information.
Benjamin Nunnally is a freelance writer in Jacksonville. Contact him at email@example.com.