When the NFL football schedule was announced in Green Bay this April, it was almost like a national holiday.
Sure, the regular season is a couple of months away, but when you live in Packers’ country, football season is year-round. And any bit of Packers news is cause for celebration.
“Green Bay is nothing if not a passionate city,” said B.J. Rogers, director of Rock the Lakes Green Bay. “It’s passionate about its Packers.”
But in between Green Bay’s second (Aug. 16) and third (Aug. 23) preseason games, a different kind of excitement will descend upon the Fox Valley area.
Rock the Lakes, a two-day, high-energy music festival outreach event, will be held at Leicht Park in downtown Green Bay on Aug. 18 and 19.
The musical artists lined up for Saturday’s youth day include Flame, Lacey from Flyleaf, The Afters and Skillet. Sunday’s event, geared more toward families, features The City Harmonic, The Afters and Michael W. Smith.
Both events start at 4 p.m. and will feature Franklin Graham speaking about God’s love and giving multiple opportunities to begin a relationship with Christ.
“There’s been a real desire by a number of people for a number of years for this to happen,” Rogers said. “There’s been a core of committed individuals who have been working and praying for this.”
And unlike the 31 other NFL cities in the U.S., Green Bay has been the only pro football town never to host a Billy Graham Crusade.
“Green Bay really is a small town,” Rogers said. “Geographically, it’s not that large. But there seems to have been a long-time desire to unite churches with an evangelistic outreach.”
At roughly 107,000 people, Green Bay is by far the smallest NFL city — and even the total population in the surrounding areas (300,000) is tiny by comparison.
But that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of volunteers to spearhead this evangelistic effort. Involvement seminars have been taking place in various parts of the city and Christian Life and Witness training classes have been taking place in strategic parts around metropolitan Green Bay area.
“The timing seems to be right,” said Rogers, who directed last August’s Rock the Lakes in Milwaukee. “This is what they’ve been praying about. This is what they’ve been longing to see.
“I’m starting to see the awareness of the entire process,” Rogers added. “I’m beginning to see the excitement of what can be accomplished when the church of Green Bay comes together.”