(Photo: Facebook/God Bless America Crusade)
Nearly 7,000 people are expected to gather tonight for the 'Carolinas God Bless America Crusade,' in Charlotte, N.C., which will kick off a three-day event led by Newport News, Va.- based evangelist, Byron Foxx, with the intent to preach the gospel and honor American heroes.
Over 60 Baptist churches from North Carolina and South Carolina including dozens more from around the country are set to descend upon the southern state for what event organizers are considering a "gathering of thankful Americans."
"The purpose of this event is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ; His death, burial, and resurrection. This Crusade is going to make much of Jesus Christ," Pastor Joseph Campbell of South Charlotte Baptist Church said. "As a patriotic event, we will be honoring different groups of people each night, which is especially appropriate on the 12th anniversary of September 11."
The first night of the event, as Campbell explained, will focus on honoring first responders, including those at the forefront of ensuring the safety of local communities. During the second night, educators will be given a distinctive salute and the U.S. military will be specially honored during the end of the crusade.
In addition, the event will feature pastors, missionaries and evangelists alike who will share the stage to preach and share testimonies. A choir of over 500 voices will also be on hand each night to perform patriotic music.
"[During] one night, Evangelist Ed Carter will be giving his gospel testimony," Campbell said. "He was a member of the Marshall University football team that was killed in a plane crash in November 1970, and was the only member of that team to survive because he never got on the plane."
More than a half-million invitations for the event were distributed in the Charlotte area and while organizers anticipate a large number of participants each night, it is the first time that Foxx will host the crusade in the Carolinas. However, he has led two similar, large-scale patriotic crusades throughout the East Coast in the past, resulting in large audience turnouts.
"If the enemy can destroy the Bible belt, he can destroy the United States of America," Joe Arthur, pastor of Georgia-based Harvest Baptist Tabernacle, said in a video promoting the event. "North Carolina has always been a stronghold for the gospel and old time religion so I want us all to work together."