Rochester’s Pre-Festival Harvest

By   •   June 12, 2012

Yes, Michael W. Smith, The Almost, Trip Lee and the Newsboys will break out their best tunes this weekend at Sahlen’s Stadium in downtown Rochester.

And Franklin Graham will deliver the Gospel message several times on Saturday and Sunday, undoubtedly drawing many into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

But the harvest from Rock the Lakes has already begun.

In the months leading up to the June 16-17 youth-oriented outreach, churches started to work together in new ways, young people made decisions to accept Christ at the FM419 training event, and two pastors reconciled a past hurt.

Patrick Medeiros, senior pastor of the Greece Assembly of God and co-chair of Rock the Lakes Rochester, shared a story about two unnamed local pastors who attended a March 26 city-wide prayer service.

“We had 1,700 in attendance for this dynamic event with Jim Cymbala, the senior pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle,” Medeiros recalled. “During the prayer focus, the person leading asked everyone to break up into groups of four or five to pray for unity among the churches.”

The next morning, Medeiros received an email: “My friend told me about a pastor he had a falling out with as a young man. When ushers were trying to squeeze people into the sanctuary for the Rock the Lakes prayer service, they happened to seat the two men next to each other.”

When they were encouraged to break up into groups, said Medeiros, the two joined hands, prayed together and began to dialogue. “They asked for forgiveness and God restored their relationship and brought healing to them as a result of the Rock the Lakes prayer meeting. 

“I don’t think it was a coincidence that the two were seated next to each other. That to me was a powerful encounter and a sign of what’s to come,” Medeiros added.

Another story of the pre-Festival harvest comes from FM419, a class that equips youth to live boldly for Jesus Christ and to share Him with their friends. In the weeks leading up to Rochester’s FM419 training in April, Gabby Cintron felt the Lord prompting her to be more outward in her witness, but she wasn’t sure how to be effective in telling her friends about Jesus.

During FM419, Cintron learned practical and relevant ways to evangelize to her friends and peers. She said she was glad to hear one of the teachers stating that “a majority of the time when people reject your witness to them, they are actually rejecting Jesus, not you.”  Through that statement, Cintron found the boldness to apply the skills she was taught.

Cintron has since found many opportunities to tell her friends about Jesus, using the tools and the Scripture she learned at FM419. She also started a Bible study for some of her girlfriends from school. “FM419 was just awesome and I loved everything from the teaching, to the music and the environment,” she said.

“If we are already seeing God move so much among the youth in these months leading to the Festival,” said Medeiros, “can you imagine what this weekend will bring?”

The pastor’s heart beats for the souls of young adults, a burden he has carried for well over a year. “It was interesting,” Medeiros recalled. “When I received the call about this Festival and Franklin’s passion to reach youth, I had been myself very burdened for the young people, especially for the 18 to 20-somethings. I had been really praying and seeking God on how to best connect and reach out to that demographic.”

Then, as Medeiros started reaching out and sharing the vision with other pastors, he learned many others had the same burden and heart cry. Quickly, a core group of pastors and Christian leaders in Rochester began to lay the groundwork for Rock the Lakes.

“The unity amongst the team has been fantastic,” said Medeiros. “Incredible relationships have formed and developed that prior to Rock the Lakes haven’t been there. The whole experience of working with the team has been enriching. We see churches doing some things together that typically don’t.”

With more than 2,500 participating in Christian Life and Witness Classes (CLWC), and close to 300 churches supporting the Festival, the Rock the Lakes leadership team is encouraged.

“Everything leading up to this weekend has empowered the local church in equipping them to live out their faith and to share their faith in a very effective, culturally relevant way,” said Medeiros. “It’s been very positive.

“We are excited about Franklin Graham coming and the Gospel being proclaimed here in the city of Rochester,” he added. “We’re believing God for great things June 16 and 17.”

Visit to watch the Festival LIVE on Saturday, June 16, at 4 p.m. ET and Sunday, June 17, at 4 p.m. ET.   Artists performing Saturday include Newsboys, The Almost, Trip Lee, Lacey from Flyleaf, and Flame. Sunday’s lineup includes Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Canton Jones, Lacey from Flyleaf and L’Angelus. Franklin Graham will share the Gospel both evenings.

Help Us Bring the Gospel to a Hurting Generation

Youth are starved for the hope of the Gospel. You can help bring them the love of Christ by donating to Rock the Lakes today.