You can hear the uninhibited passion in Lacey Sturm’s voice as she talks about what God will do in her city this weekend during the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Not just what He could do, but what He will do.
“My faith is just so strong,” the spirited singer-songwriter said. “We really need a clear, Gospel-centered message out in the open,” she said, “which is what Franklin Graham is here to do. … And once that happens, I believe we’re so prepared.”
Christians across the city are ready and waiting to see what will happen this weekend—and even more eager to follow up with fellow Pittsburghers who have questions about the Gospel or decide to follow Christ after each night of the Festival, held at the CONSOL Energy Center.
Lacey has toured all over the United States and Canada, often lending her testimony and voice to Franklin Graham Festivals, but this weekend’s Festival near her own home is even more special.
It’s been four years since Lacey moved to Pittsburgh with her husband, Josh, when she was six months pregnant with her first son. The Steel City immediately melted her heart.
“When you come into the city … the tunnels open up and it’s the most beautiful thing you can imagine, with a big valley and tons of bridges,” she said. She fell in love with the aged homes and churches boasting gorgeous architecture and the riverbanks that are perfect for fishing.
“It’s also got this crazy feel of the South—the humility, the hospitality,” Lacey added. “If you call a stranger on the phone in Pittsburgh, you’ll be on the phone for 20 minutes before you hang up.”
Just after Lacey and Josh began calling Pittsburgh their home—Josh is originally from there—the couple found a spot on nearby Mount Washington, overlooking the city. There, they prayed for their future and for the future of the city.
“We really had a sense that God was going to spark a revival in Pittsburgh,” Lacey said, and she started to notice how many fellow Christians had the same heart to see revival there.
Now, four years later, the singer’s faith is unwavering, and her love for Pittsburgh copious.
“I want to see revival happen the way we prayed about (four years ago),” she said. “Where across the city, crime drops so much the police have nothing to do. Where people have visions of the Lord and get saved.”
Where there’s renewed peace and joy, she added.
Lacey is 4-foot-11 with a massive voice and a heart so full of love for Christ that you think she might burst. She’s come a long way the past two decades but vividly remembers when she was still an angsty atheist later rescued from suicide. She knows about depression and hopelessness, and desperately wants to reach people in the tri-state area who struggle with the same thing. She’s promoting the Festival on social media and prays many will come to the CONSOL Energy Center or tune into the live web stream for a message of hope.
This weekend’s Festival is Lacey’s first big performance in her city since she quit Texas rock band Flyleaf. She and Josh—who plays the guitar for her onstage—have been writing and rehearsing before the event, but more than anything, they have been praying.
Their church, Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, prays for the Festival every Sunday, and some members gather every weekday at 5 a.m. for more prayer. Many in the congregation have completed BGEA’s Christian Life and Witness Course, which will help them follow up with people who have questions or give their lives to Christ after the Festival.
“The city has so many resources for people when they come to Christ,” Lacey said. Most notably, the countless Christians who “have the Holy Spirit burning within them to love and teach.”
Watch Lacey’s story to see how a former atheist on the brink of suicide found life and hope in Christ.