When he was in third grade, two of his soccer friends invited him and his twin brother, David, to Life Center, one of the largest churches in Tacoma.
“We were a blended family, a broken family, and we were not serving the Lord in any shape or form,” Curry says. “I had hardly ever seen anybody in my family go to church.”
When he walked into Life Center, he was changed forever. “I had never seen so many loving people,” he says.
After several weeks, Curry and his brother committed their lives to Christ. About six months later, their parents visited, and they also accepted Christ. Today, Curry is senior pastor of that same church.
“I get up to preach on Sunday, and the father of those two boys who invited me is standing behind me singing in the choir,” Curry says. “On the front row is the pastor from when I started attending Life Center.”
Near the front of the congregation is Pastor Curry’s 94-year-old grandmother, who became a Christian at age 83.
“We went from a family where no one was serving the Lord to a family where everyone is a Christian,” Curry says.
Statistics show that Washington and Oregon have the highest number of unchurched people in the nation. Located near the beach and the mountains, residents of the Puget Sound Region spend their Sundays canoeing, boating, hiking and skiing, with little time for church.
“There are a lot of false gods drawing people,” says Sherry Lorentzen, Festival prayer chair. “There’s gambling, pornography, shamanism, witchcraft, druidism and New Age mixtures. I believe with all my heart that people are ready for something more. God’s heart is for lost people.”
Curry, and Christians throughout the region, are praying that the Pacific Northwest Festival With Franklin Graham, Nov. 2-4 at the Tacoma Dome, will begin to turn the tide. But the churches must first unify, says Danny Thomas, pastoral counselor and office manager for the Festival.
“We have to get over the fear that churches are competing over members,” he says. “We must center on completion, not competition. We must realize that when one Bible-believing church grows, the entire Body of Christ is growing.”
In the Northwest, people thrive on independence, says Festival Chair Eric Boles.
“Everybody wants to do their own thing,” he says. “We can either unify over a great vision, or we can unify over a crisis. I would rather unify over a vision, particularly the vision of bringing souls to Christ. People are hungry for Christ.”
As the Festival draws near, Christians are urging believers to get in the habit of inviting people to church–and to the Festival–like those little boys invited Curry years ago.
“I am that man,” Curry says. “I was that boy; we are that family who needed someone to tell us about Christ, and we didn’t even know it. There are other families out there. They may not look lost, they may not even know they are lost, but they need Christ just like we did.”