Over 10,000 Students Attend 'Fresh 2005' Back-to-School Rally

LOS ANGELES — More than 10,000 students celebrated the beginning of the school year Saturday with a back-to-school Christian youth rally in Los Angeles featuring music from David Crowder, a message from Erwin McManus, and a prayer meeting.

The sold-out Fresh 2005 rally was held at the L.A. Convention Center from Saturday evening with attendances from youth groups and churches across Southern California. It is the second-year run of Fresh, an event attended last year by 6,500 students.

Just days before the event, Christian students nationwide observed “See You at the Pole” on Sept. 21, a day when students gathered at their school flagpoles to pray for their campuses, fellow students, and the nation.

Charles Kim, executive director of JAMA (Jesus Awakening Movement for America), one of the sponsors for Fresh 2005, said organizers of the rally felt that See You at the Pole was a little too early for students to be mobilized.

He told the Christian Post that through the event he hopes students will look at their "campuses as a mission field", become "more involved in students clubs," and "be thinking about God" as they start the new school year.

The David Crowder Band took most of the stage time at Fresh, playing songs from its recently released album, "A Collision."

Participants, most appearing to be between 17 and 25 years old, jumped, clapped and cheered enthusiastically to Crowder's songs as multi-colored spotlights flashed on their faces.

Music artists Shane and Shane and Robbie Seay Band also performed during the rally, which reflected a mixture of a conference and a concert.

Meanwhile, Erwin McManus, the main speaker for the event, called on students to begin the new school year with fresh start in Christ.

Sponsors of the event included big names in youth ministries including, Passion Tour, Sixstep Records, JOURNEY, DCLA, Youth Specialties, JAMA, KCCC (Korean Campus Crusade for Christ), K.A.M.E. , Southern Cal Youth for Christ.

Information on Fresh 2006 will be available in the next few weeks at www.fresh2006.org.