Before you can “Rock the Range,” you must train the range.
And that’s why there’s an event like FM419.
Training the youth of the Denver area on how to share their faith with their friends, the FM419 event (Follow Me, Matthew 4:19) kicked off the training season for “Rock the Range” on Friday night and Saturday at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Co.
Just over 700 youth took part in this high-energy, three-speaker event, including worship by the band Starfield and texting giveaways including an iPod Nano, iTunes gift cards and CDs.
The floodgates to Rock the Range have officially opened.
“We now have 700 Facebookers, Tweeters and youth out there talking about this event,” said Art Bailey, Rock the Range festival director. “It’s just now coming on the radar for most churches and most youth groups.”
But that radar is starting to crackle with increased intensity.
Get ready Denver. Rock the Range is coming Aug. 27-28 to and its bringing the noise.
Particularly, The Almost, LeCrae and The Afters will be performing on Youth Night, Aug. 27.
The Afters return on Aug. 28 to lead worship at a family-friendly Sunday afternoon event with Michael W. Smith also performing.
“Our training was very timely. We now have 700 new ambassadors out there talking about Rock the Range,” Bailey said. “They have a new option in their life to pray for a friend and invite them to hear the Gospel. It will be something really cool that they won’t be ashamed to take their friends to.”
This excitement and energy is a spillover from the FM419 weekend training where over 130 decisions were made for Christ and students left pumped, when they finally left the building.
“We had kids hanging around talking about what they’re going to do, getting T-shirts, getting ready for the event,” Bailey said. “You can tell these kids are really buying into it.”
One of the trainers, John Cass of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, could tell the weekend was transformational and by the time it was over, the youth “got it.”
“If you look at how people come into the classes, they’re coming in with a look that says ‘why am I here’ or ‘why am I giving up a Friday night?'” Cass said. “But by the time they leave Saturday, you see the excitement on their faces — you see kids crying — this event should be amazing because God is working in their lives.”
Keeping the students engaged for the entire two-day event is a critical component to FM419 and the format has been refined to fit the next generation of Christian leaders right where they are.
It starts with a text campaign, where students can sign up on the Mob text list for free-giveaways that will increase in frequency as late August draws nigh.
“We have three different teaching styles,” Cass said. “You get a little love from a few different angles, a little passion. It’s really God putting his tools together.”
Cass, JT and Nick Hall captured the crowd Friday night as they passionately spoke on The Effective Christian Life and The Victorious Christian Life. Students were furiously underlining, highlighting and taking notes to capture Cass’s intensity, Hall’s energy and JT’s hilarity.
“It’s fast-paced. It’s light. It’s fresh,” Bailey describes the style. “It’s been extremely well-received by young people. They really get this.”
On Saturday classes shifted focus to sharing their faith with their friends, neighbors and classmates. A Chick-Fil-A lunch intertwined with more text winners and by the time the event ended, a sea of green Street Team t-shirted youth flooded the exits.
“It has a lot of moving parts. These guys aren’t comedians but they’re humorous. It doesn’t come across as a lecture. And the material is presented in such a way that it’s really digestible for the youth.”
And the thing that Cass sees that may be most encouraging is what the students are finally starting to see: “By Saturday, I think they’re definitely looking at the world as new opportunities.”
June 11: KidzFest Chldren’s Leaders & Workers Training
June 18: Follow-up Breakfast for Pastors
June 18: Material Distribution Day
July 16: Christian Life & Witness Capsule Coursess
July 21: United Prayer Service
July 23: Christian Life & Witness Capsule Courses
Aug. 20: Community Action Project (C.A.P.)