Amid calls from emergency personnel to stay home during a 1,000-year flood, more than 800 people made commitments to Christ during the Rick Gage GO TELL Columbus County, N.C., Carolina Crusade on Oct. 4-7. At least 500 of those decisions were for salvation.
The total four-day attendance at the South Columbus High School Gymnasium in Tabor City was estimated to be above 10,000.
The GO TELL and BMX bike teams spoke to 4,000 students in seven school assemblies. Youth evangelist Steve Paysen challenged students to be winners in the game of life.
Other guest speakers included Tony Nolan and Adrian Despres with NewSong as musical guests.
A four-day attendance in Columbus County, N.C., during a Rick Gage GO TELL crusade is estimated to be more than 10,000 people.
Crusade chair Brenda Jolly said, “After a year of intensive planning, work, organizing, training and praying with all of our hearts, we opened the first night of the crusade amidst predictions of the ‘1,000-year flood’ at South Columbus High School Gymnasium – not the football stadium as we had planned for all those months. We held off making the final decision of whether to proceed or not until 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, mainly due to county emergency agencies broadcasting for people to stay off the roads for their own safety.”
Some pressed to cancel the event for the protection of those who would drive to the crusade.
The executive team prayed and decided to go forward, changing the venue to the gym rather than the outdoor stadium.
Jolly said, “Instead of canceling, we flooded the airways and social media with the confirmation that the crusade would go on, but for everyone to make wise choices about their personal safety, and if the roads in their area were not safe, please stay home and pray!”
The decision was confirmed when more than 400 counselors walked in the arena, with their Bibles, umbrellas and smiles.
“I could barely believe my eyes when people began to arrive and we actually needed an overflow room to hold the audience,” she said. Approximately 1,200 people attended the opening night and 80 decisions for Christ were listed.
“Each night the crowd grew – as did decisions – with the culmination of over 300 decisions on Wednesday night,” Jolly said.
Decisions recorded by counselors totaled more than 800 people of “all ages, walks of life, races and gender.
Other opportunities surrounding the week of the crusade yielded 25 decisions at the North Carolina Boys and Girls Home and 19 at two prisons.”
Adding the decisions made prior to the crusade from messages preached by Rick Gage and Steve Paysen to those registered at the crusade, the total decisions for Christ were estimated to be close to 1,000.
“To me, it was as if God said, ‘OK, you have worked, planned and executed on every level possible. Now step aside and watch what I am going to do’ – and, boy, did He,” Jolly said.
The benefits of the event extended beyond the public gatherings, according to area leaders. Christians are reported to be networking together now as never before – regardless of denominations, races, cultures or other boundaries.
Jolly listed a variety of decisions that included:
A news reporter covered the GO TELL Columbus story from the beginning. Conviction set in, and on Monday night he surrendered his life to Christ.
A husband, wife and teenage son whose family was facing divorce were reunited in the counseling room, and divorce proceedings were dropped.
Hundreds of teens – football players, cheerleaders – all races, all ages, responded to God’s call, streaming down the bleachers and folding chairs.
A man traveled from two hours away because a friend begged him to come “just one night.” This man lost his son in April to suicide, lost his fiancée to another man in September and had purchased a gun to take his own life.
An 82-year-old man who had spent his entire life in church, even serving as a deacon, trusted Christ as his Savior. He never felt sure he was saved. Now he knows.
A young counselor was driving his car through a bad neighborhood. Stretched across the road in front of him, were five black teens, blocking the road. In fear he said he “hit the gas pedal.”
All but one scattered off the road. As he drove toward the sole teen in the street, he slowed down and opened his window partially to hear what the guy would say. The teen called him “a fool” and identified himself as a gangster. He drove off.
That night at the crusade, the young driver watched as hundreds of people entered the counseling room. His eyes met the eyes of the same black teen he had encountered earlier that day in the street.
The “gangster” came because there was free pizza and stayed to ultimately meet God face to face. The black teen extended his hand to the counselor and apologized for his actions earlier that day. He gave his life to Christ.
So did a friend who came with him.
“There are many stories that are still coming in … Everywhere I go, people are commenting on the amazing changes in people’s lives,” said Jolly.
“The vision of people almost running to the altar will be forever burned in my brain and heart, and I am a new person because of what I’ve seen and felt as a member of the best team God ever put together to do His work.
“The real work has just begun. Stay tuned as you will hear much more from our county and what we are going to do, with God’s help, to turn the tide against the enemy and win the battle for God,” Jolly concluded.
Outreach Co-Chair Bo Shaw said, “I had a great experience with the GO TELL Crusade.
“All the planning and preparations were worth its reward with more than 850 souls saved. Wow! [I’m] still excited that God allowed me to be part of the process. … I intend on using every tool possible, as God allows, to win souls.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David B. Heller, director of missions for the Columbus Baptist Association, submitted this story that was written by the staff of Go Tell Ministries, Inc. Atlanta, Ga. Allan Blume, BR editor, contributed to this story.)