Rock Thurrock was just about to wrap up Sunday night when the magnitude of what had happened in this east London district started to sink in.
Colin Baker, the Rock Thurrock Core Team Leader and pastor of Gray’s Baptist Church, had witnessed God work in a mighty way, with more than 1,900 people packing out Thurrock Civic Hall over three nights, and several hundred making decisions for Christ.
For Baker, Rock Thurrock was more than just an event. It was proof that God delivers on His promises.
“I want to cry,” he said. “We’ve been praying for over a year to see this happen and so my eyes well up with tears of joy. It’s just incredible.”
Dai Franks, a deacon at Gray’s Baptist, feels that Rock Thurrock’s impact has the potential to be “bigger than anyone could imagine.”
“It’s awesome,” Franks said. “I’m just so excited about what God’s going to do in the future with these young people. We’ve got to disciple them so that they grow and they become champions. We want them to become world-shakers, history-makers and turn this nation around, so we see transformation.”
God used the preaching of Will Graham, grandson of Billy Graham and son of Franklin Graham, along with Christian bands, to reach many hearts this weekend in the U.K. Here are just a few examples of how lives were impacted.
A Life-Changing Gesture
Three bands rocked Thurrock on Saturday and Sunday: Beautiful Remnant; Empire Nation; and the headliner, LZ7.
The top Christian band in the U.K., LZ7 has reached thousands of kids through a local evangelistic project called “Message to Schools,” and it hit No. 26 on the U.K. mainstream music charts with its single “This Little Light.”
This past week, lead singer Lindz West met some students who couldn’t afford the 10 pounds to come to the Rock Thurrock event, so he personally paid for them to come.
“And one of those girls gave her life to Christ on Saturday night,” said Will Graham, who relayed the story. “So it’s been a huge team effort. I appreciate the team that God has brought in here to see a new generation saved.”
One of the singers from Beautiful Remnant took things a step further and stood outside Thurrock Civic Hall, evangelizing and inviting people coming to other events at the venue to also check out Rock Thurrock.
“She said this event has helped light a fire under her to do more evangelism,” Will Graham said. “She’s always been an evangelist at heart, but this has reignited it.
“She told her band, ‘We’re not here to sing, we’re here to win souls.’”
Practice What She Preaches
After going through the Christian Life & Witness courses, Sheila was anxious to use what she had learned on someone.
She knew the perfect person to start with — her mom. “I practiced on my mom and she committed herself (to Christ) and prayed the prayer to become a Christian,” Sheila said. “She’s been coming to church. She’s not long been a widow so she’s finding it very comforting.”
On Saturday night, Sheila put her practice into action again and was privileged to lead two young girls to Christ.
For Sheila, who had been “away from God for a long time,” the training she received has strengthened her faith. “It was lovely to practice on my mom,” she said.
Even Grandma Rocks Thurrock
Age means nothing, or at least very little, to Pat. This grandmother, who has a heart for young people, attends a large church with very few students.
Recently, the church started a youth group and Pat made sure they were involved at Rock Thurrock, getting into the music just as much as her grandkids, who belong to the youth group.
“My grandson said to me, ‘You’re the youngest nanny I’ve ever had,’ ” said Pat. “Give me these rocky bands anytime. It reminds me of when I was young, going to rock-’n'-roll-concerts.”
For Pat, it’s more than just music; it’s about connecting on a different level.
“You can enjoy the same kind of thing that they enjoy and show them that Jesus loves all ages,” she said. “It’s brilliant.”
“There are some sold-out people out there,” Colin said of the older generation Rocking Thurrock. “They’ve been looking to see this generation saved for Christ.
And they can’t help but move to this music because, actually, it ain’t half bad, is it?“
Two Classmates Accept Christ
Adam, a 12-year-old, invited two friends from his 8th-grade class to Rock Thurrock on Saturday night and both responded to a Gospel message by Will Graham, accepting Christ as their Savior.
“I can now talk to them a lot easier about God and Christ and bits like that,” Adam said.
One of the friends was so impacted, he stayed up late that night, reading the entire Gospel of John.
“They were asking, ‘Can we come back tomorrow? Can we come back tomorrow?’ ” Adam said.
Adam’s father, Neil, went through the Christian Life & Witness courses, which he believed trained him to share Christ in “a really simple, easy way.”
Neil went home and shared what he learned with his parents, who are not believers.
“We went through the book, basically front cover to back cover, going through it, talking quite seriously with my parents about it,” Neil said.
His parents didn’t make a decision that night, but Neil thinks a seed has been planted.
“I’ve been working on that for the last 20-odd years,” Neil said. “They were actually very interested at the end of it, wanting to know more.”