WAYCROSS, Ga. (BP)–“The Bible says that when one sinner comes to Christ, all of heaven rejoices. I know that this crusade made our Savior proud,” said Jerry Weathersby, chairman of the Southeast Georgia GO TELL Crusade led by evangelist Rick Gage.
“We spent more than a year organizing and praying that God would bring a revival to our area. Clearly, He heard us and responded in a big way,” Weathersby said.
More than 16,000 attended the April 19-22 crusade at Memorial Stadium in Waycross, Ga.; 1,140 decisions were recorded, including 673 first-time professions of faith. At a pre-crusade “Firehouse” youth rally, 67 first-time decisions for Christ were recorded. The Sunday morning before the crusade, Gage spoke at a local church where 55 people made commitments to Christ.
During the day, Gage and his team addressed 6,000 students through “On Track” assemblies in 14 area schools and spoke at a local prison where 10 inmates made professions of faith and at a youth detention center where 12 gave their lives to Christ. At daily noon luncheons, people shared testimonies from the previous evening and pastors received decision card information.
More than 50 churches joined forces for the outreach. The Sunday morning after the crusade, many churches dedicated their services to crusade testimonies and saw more people come to Christ as the spirit of revival continued. The churches continue to baptize converts and engage in post-crusade follow-up.
“What I witnessed happen in our county cannot be humanly explained,” crusade co-chairman Bill Bryson said. “God moved through in mighty power and released an awesome awakening. Our churches came together across denominational and racial lines in a spirit of unity and cooperation to love and reach people, and the results are staggering. We are continuing what the crusade started and will feel its impact for years to come.”
Freddie Smith, pastor of Sweat Memorial Baptist Church, described the impact of the crusade as “far greater than we ever anticipated. We’re taking follow-up very seriously, not letting one person who made a decision fall through the cracks.”
“The sight of the football field covered with those who had come to make decisions was a sight I will never forget,” Smith recounted. “There were times when I had to counsel six at a time, the response was so great.”
Weathersby, the crusade chairman, noted, “Jesus did what He said He would do if we would only lift Him up. We did, and we saw something that Waycross has never seen…. The Lord truly did abundantly above what we could have imagined.
“I feel as if all these years I have not been in the game but have been on the sidelines, not really doing the most important thing — being involved in winning souls,” Weathersby continued. “If our Savior came to seek and to save the lost, if that is His heart, then it should be ours also. Hundreds of God’s people got in the game [through the crusade] and Christ did the rest. He drew the hearts of hundreds to Himself. I am so deeply grateful that I got involved in this crusade and chose the Father’s business over my own.”
Miracle stories of changed lives abound. Those who made salvation decisions ranged in age from 8 to 90, including three crusade counselors, a police officer who worked security for the crusade, a 17-year-old who had planned his suicide, a high school quarterback and members from a local baseball team.
One 32-year-old woman with four children called a friend to see if she would party with her. “I don’t do that anymore,” the friend replied. “Come with me to the Rick Gage crusade.” She did and trusted Christ and was in church the Sunday after the crusade with her husband, who was deeply thankful that his once-broken family had come together.
During an invitation, a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair yelled several times, “Take me to the football field! Take me to the football field!” He said that if an usher had not heard him, he had planned to fall out of his wheelchair and crawl to the field to trust Christ as his Savior.
“My cup is full and running over,” crusade treasurer George Robins said as his voice cracked and broke. “The crusade was nothing short of supernatural. It convicted a lot of us Christians about how complacent we were.
“We’re meeting weekly to continue the great work God did,” Robins said. “You can never be the same again after seeing an entire family come to the Lord with tears; a little boy clinging to his dad’s leg; an 8-year-old getting saved then bringing his 25-year-old brother; a dad accepting Christ and declaring that he will go from being sorry to being the spiritual leader in his home.”
“It was a glorious thing to see 52 churches united to fulfill the Great Commission,” said Alton Carter, pastor of Brunel Street Church of God. “I watched the church come alive again as we all focused on the most important thing — Christ and Him crucified.
“There is nothing that can compare with seeing a person receive eternal life. One of the girls who was saved at the pre-crusade youth rally told me that her mother was not going to like her decision. On Tuesday night of the crusade I saw that same girl with tears streaming down her face as she watched her mother get saved.”
Crusade secretary and high school teacher Angela Strickland, who has taken students to Gage’s GO TELL Camps each summer and was instrumental in initiating the Waycross outreach, said, “I see students deal with brokenness, anger, rejection and peer pressure on a daily basis. They saw the difference God makes at the crusade. For many, it was all they could talk about. There is no question that the power of God rained down on southeast Georgia.”
Finance chairman Bill Higginson recounted, “The crusade was an experience of a lifetime. It was awesome to watch God move among His people for financial resources and for workers to man a huge volunteer support group and handle the integral parts of making an event this large run smoothly. It was awesome to see local law enforcement commit their resources to make things safe, to see local school officials allow the team to speak to thousands of young people and to see the genuine commitment of the Gage team that brought such glory to God.”
Gage, who has been filling football stadiums for more than a decade in small towns across the nation, has witnessed more than 250,000 decisions for Christ through his many evangelistic outreaches in America and abroad. Rick Gage GO TELL Ministries include crusades, summer youth camps, school assemblies and overseas missions trips.
Tina Kicklighter is a writer and public relations professional in Jacksonville, Fla. For more information about Rick Gage GO TELL Ministries, call 1-866-I-GO-TELL; visit www.gotellministries.com; or e-mail [email protected]