The Sandhills Go Tell Crusade put a buzz in Richmond County, task force members said, that can still be felt in stores and restaurants.
According to Task-force Co-chair Thad Ussery, a total of 804 people made a spiritual decision as a result of the Sandhills Go Tell Crusade hosted last week in the Raider Stadium, on U.S. Highway 1 in Rockingham. Of those, nearly 450 were first time commitments, and more than 320 were re-dedications.
“Now when I go into restaurants, banks and stores, people are grinning, saying it made a difference in the county,” said Ussery. “That was the point.”
Ussery said many church denominations came together to support the event, and have formed a new relationship because of it.
“Together the churches had one focus; get people there, let them hear the word preached and watch the results,” said Ussery.
The unity among the churches will continue as the churches work to follow up with each person who made a commitment at the crusade. Each person made a commitment by filling out information that was entered into a database. This list of people has been shared with each church, and the churches will continue to call and reach out to those who wish to renew their relationship with the Lord.
“You don’t want to miss anyone,” said Ussery. “We went out Saturday and took the names with us, and visited with people. All of those we visited went to church on Sunday.”
Ussery likened the follow-up process to the nourishment of a newborn child. You wouldn’t place the vitamins a child needs around them and then leave, said Ussery, because the child would die. The child must be fed and nurtured, just as the newly committed do.
“They need to be encouraged or the devil’s going to try to take away what they have,” said Ussery. “The church’s role is to grow Christians and reach out to those who aren’t Christians. If you grow them, they reach someone else. The crusade will reach people next week, next month and next year. We’ve watched the mighty power of God moving people through spirit.”
“I’ve been hearing great reports,” said Crusader Rick Gage, while he was on the road in Texas on Tuesday. “It was a move of God. The event was well organized. The key to the event’s success was God’s people bathing the event in prayer for a long time before it started. There was a real hunger among the people of the community to see God.”
Gage said while he was here, he didn’t just attend the crusade. He went to daily lunches, visited schools and on Thursday he visited Morrison Correctional Institution to minister to young men behind bars. At least eight young men committed themselves to their faith as a result of that meeting.
Many involved in the ministry touched lives everywhere they went as they headed to the crusade.
“We initiated a Hispanic outreach through the Sandhills Go Tell Crusade since that is a very worthy and viable demographic in our area,” said Jeanne Newton, who helped the Go Tell Ministry with media relations. “Consequently, (minister) José Alvarez Vargas arrived last Thursday to work with a Hispanic pastor, Pablo Hernandez, in ministering to the Hispanic community. The very first person José saw in McDonald’s he led to Christ (pre-crusade) and he and Pablo together led 11 more during outreach (that) Saturday. At last count, his pre-crusade totals 27 names who are now written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, due to his efforts here.
“José shared with us that he met one woman who was born again during the Freddie Gage Go Tell Crusade in 1986, and then her son was saved at the Sandhills crusade. That’s not the only story of a new generation being saved under Go Tell ministries presence in our area,” Newton said.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.