Thousands of young people will be present this Saturday for the kick off of the inaugural Rock the River Tour featuring Franklin Graham.
Starting from Baton Rouge, La., the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will hit four cities along the Mississippi River with the Gospel message and music from some of America’s most popular hard rock and hip-hop Christian artists.
"We are very, very excited,” said Bishop Charles Wallace, pastor of Oasis Christian Center, when asked by the BGEA to describe the mood in Baton Rouge.
“We are expecting a great move of God,” reported Wallace, who chairs his community's Rock the River leadership team.
Inspired by the vision that Graham shared last September, the BGEA’s new, high-energy youth outreach will provide youth an opportunity to respond to the Gospel, be encouraged by trained peers and then related back to local caring churches.
“The purpose of Rock the River is to share the Good News of the Gospel with tens of thousands of young people and young adults along the Mississippi River basin from Louisiana to Minnesota in a fun, festival setting,” the Rock the River team reports.
Furthermore, in the time leading up to each event, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will train thousands of young believers to walk with Jesus Christ and train them on how to share God’s love with their friends.
“We are engaged in a bold mission at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to reach America’s youth,” event promoters say.
According to the BGEA, of those who made decisions for Christ during the ministry’s large, evangelistic crusades, more than two-thirds in the last few years have been youth, whose generation is faced with an environment much more hostile than generations before it.
“You’ve got a generation that is lost. They get involved in drugs at an early age. They’ve been involved in sex at an early age,” said Graham during a recent interview with local media.
“Are we just going to give up on this generation,” he posed. “I want to try to reach this generation with the truth of God’s love. I want these kids to know that God loves them. And a lot of these kids have no idea that anyone loves them, much less God.”
In addition to the youth, some believe the Rock the River Tour will also spark revivals in the communities it visits as each will come together with a common goal – to save the souls of America’s youth with the message of Christ.
According to the BGEA, Wallace has told other pastors and churches “from day one” that although the focus and concentration of the tour is to “touch youth in our community, I believe Rock the River is larger than that.”
“[T]rue revival will break out and change this world when the church can come together and put down our egos, our logos, our denominational differences, and just focus on what’s important – and that’s Christ and Him crucified,” he reported to the Graham ministry.
Christian artists who will be teaming up with the BGEA for its first Rock the River event in Baton Rouge are Flyleaf, Red, Hawk Nelson, Superchick, Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Canton Jones, Mary Mary, and Anthony Evans.
Other cities that the tour will be hitting are St. Louis (Aug. 2), Quad Cities (Aug. 8), and Minneapolis/St. Paul (Aug. 16).
The Baton Rouge event will kick off at 2:30 p.m. local time and conclude at 9:30 p.m.