It may seem like a departure from our historic Crusades, but it really is just a continuation of the youth-focused ministry that my father and his team started more than 60 years ago with Youth For Christ.
Over the years, our desire to reach young people with the transforming power of the Gospel has not diminished, and the Rock the River Tour is designed to reach youth primarily between the ages of 13 and 23 with the message of God’s love through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. I want to call young people to repentance, to trust in Christ as Savior and follow Him as Lord.
This is a generation that is spiritually lost, attempting to fill that vacuum by the pursuit of sex, drugs, pleasure, and affluence. Many of them live in homes with parents who are lost, and they know little if anything about what God says about sin and salvation.
The Rock the River Tour–which begins in Baton Rouge on July 18, moves on to St. Louis on August 2, then to the Quad Cities on August 8, and concludes in Minneapolis/St. Paul on August 16–is the kind of event that will help us reach this generation.
In each city, there will be at least six hours of music by bands and artists who love Jesus. I’ll preach several times at the event in each city, calling on young people to turn from their sin and receive Christ by faith.
I need your prayers. This is a battleground in the heart of America, and we’re going all out to plant the flag of God’s truth, reaching minds and hearts that have too long believed the lies and deceit of the enemy.
We’ve advertised the Rock the River Tour for a 200-mile radius extending from each city. There will be room for tens of thousands of kids, and I believe God will give us a great harvest. Only Christ can fill their empty hearts. Only Christ can heal their wounds. Only Christ can forgive their sins and give them a new life in Him.
It’s the life that Lacey Mosley–the lead singer for the band Flyleaf, who will perform at each venue–found several years ago after contemplating suicide at age 16. She shared with me how her grandmother took her to church one evening and how God wonderfully saved her that night.
She went on to talk about her calling to reach lost young people with the Gospel, to “snatch others from the fire and save them” (Jude 23, NIV). “When you see somebody who is in sin,” Lacey told me, “your heart should break and your love should be overflowing. So whenever we see these kids, we’re like, ‘You know, God has so much more for your life than this.'”
Pray that my message will be clear and simple. I want each young person to understand that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Pray that each time I give the invitation, there will be an overflowing of God’s Holy Spirit, so that there will be true conviction, repentance, and faith in the Savior. Pray that the light of the Gospel will overcome the darkness of sin and unbelief.
After the Rock the River Tour, I will be heading to Bogotá, Colombia, for the first large evangelistic gathering in that country in more than 20 years. Colombia has only recently begun to emerge from decades of extreme violence led by powerful drug cartels. Please pray for the many churches that are laboring together for a harvest of souls redeemed by the spotless blood of the Lamb.
As you personally work for this harvest in your community, we have a new evangelism tool that I think you will find extremely helpful. If you have an iPhone, you can now download “Steps to Peace With God,” which shows four simple steps to saving faith in Christ that you can share with unsaved friends or family members.
Whatever method we use to reach people, the message is always the same–Christ died for our sins and rose again, so we might receive the gift of eternal life through repentance and faith in Him.
We are working on every front we possibly can to proclaim the Gospel to as many people as possible, by every means we can. The effort and expense is well worth the investment–an investment in souls. But we do not have the resources to do it alone, and the need is urgent.