If you’re a fan of the Great Outdoors, it doesn’t get much better than living in the Denver area.
Hiking. Biking. Skiing. Snowboarding.
You can just about find it all around the Mile High City.
“This is an outdoor community,” Rock the Range director Art Bailey said. “They love the beauty of the mountains.
“But as they discover the creation, they need to discover the Creator.”
That’s the Rock the Range mission in a nutshell.
The goal of this two-day, high-energy Festival hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is to draw the people of the Denver area to their Creator by using the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bailey expects the reach of Rock the Range to extend as far north as Fort Collins and as far south as Colorado Springs.
“The population is very unchurched,” Bailey said. “The highest number I can get anyone to speak about as far as the people churched in the Denver area is 13 percent. That ranks up there with the most unchurched areas in the U.S.”
So how does Rock the Range work?
Three free events over two days geared toward three different audiences and one common goal: to reach the Denver area for Christ.
Saturday evening’s event is geared specifically toward youth, featuring four Christian bands rocking out Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, a massive pro soccer complex, starting at 4 p.m. Playing high-octane set lists will be Lecrae, The Afters, The Almost and a special guest artist, which will be announced on Aug. 1.
Saturday’s Kidsfest kicks off the weekend at 10 a.m. with the hit Christian kids band, God Rocks!
Following the musical guests each night will be a message from Franklin Graham, who sees the Denver area as a place that desperately needs to hear about our Creator.
“People are worshipping creation and mother earth,” Graham said. “Of course, I love the world which God has given us, but we have to remember it is God who created it.
“It is God who made those beautiful mountains. It is God who created those beautiful seas. Every breath, every heartbeat comes from God.”
Rock the Range is a variation of Rock the River, the 2009 four-stop Festival tour up the Mississippi River, featuring one-day youth-geared Christian Rock events in Baton Rouge, St. Louis, the Quad Cities (Ill.) and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
But instead of reaching out exclusively to the youth of America, this year a family day has been added with music the entire family will enjoy.
“As we know in America today, there’s a concern for the youth. You hear a lot of talk about it,” Bailey said. “But the churches are not just concerned about youth, they’re concerned about adults.
“They’re concerned about grandma and grandpa and aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers and moms and dads. They’re concerned about everybody.
Prayer Night Rocks the Range
Bailey knows that very little can be accomplished without prayer, but so much with it. That’s why Thursday night’s prayer event was especially encouraging to Bailey and the Rock the Range team.
Around 200 committed Rock the Range volunteers gathered to pray for both this Festival and the Denver area as the event creeps to the 30-day mark.
Groups of three or four split off as 13 different presenters talked about a different area of prayer, igniting a night of prayer so rich that Bailey’s wife, Wanda, called it the “best” prayer event she’s experienced in about 20 years of ministry.
“It was exceptional,” Bailey said. “Everybody that prayed was just so right on target. It was really refreshing to go and be a part of that kind of meeting. It really plucked at the heart strings.”
The event was also an opportunity to emphasize Operation Andrew, where names of unsaved friends are written on a card and kept as a prayer reminder. One church has over 700 names they are praying for to come to the event to hear about the saving power of Jesus Christ.
“We’re going to do everything we can to engage the church about Operation Andrew,” Bailey said. “The only thing that’s hanging in the balance is will the community bring the lost to this event.”
One week before the event (Aug. 20) marks the Community Action Project day where volunteers will serve the Denver area with projects like cleaning up trash, removing graffiti, landscaping parks and building community gardens.
In the latest Billy Graham television program, you can see the impact of the 2010 Rock the River Tour West through the eyes of local teens. Watch online now.