Rock the River 2009: All the Cities, All the Stories

By   •   August 4, 2009

In the summer of 2009, we launched a series of evangelistic outdoor concerts called Rock the River. The concerts were youth-focused and featured high-energy bands who presented the Christian message through their music; also, Franklin Graham spoke several times throughout the day offering a message of hope through God’s love.

A total of 112,798 people attended up and down the Mississippi River.

“This all happened because God put a burden on my heart for young people-how can we reach kids of this generation?” says Franklin Graham. “For so many their lives are upside down and in a mess and they don’t even know why.”

As Franklin’s burden for youth continues to grow, plans are being finalized for a new series of events in 2010.

Please pray that all the details will come together, that God will be glorified, and that many more young people will come to know the only true Savior.

Looking Back with Thanksgiving

We’ve compiled stories and videos from all four stops on this historic tour. Sit back and remember an amazing day or see what you missed. In either case, the tour is a testimony to the glory of God!

More than 23,000 people came out to hear some incredible music and a transforming message. “I’m so excited that we’ve had this opportunity to share the message of God’s love with all of these young people,” said Franklin. “It’s a chance to change thousands of young lives.”

A Day of Faith, Rock, & Love
All awesome things must come to an end and tonight in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, Rock The River 2009 came to a rousing close. Franklin brought the Word of Life at three different times throughout the day, offering challenges from Scripture along with illustrations from his own experiences.
Read the article »

The Tour Finale in Twin Cities
Our intrepid Rock the River writer is at again! Catch all the local color and real-time updates.
Check out the blog »

FLAME: Sold Out for Christ
Born and raised on the inner city streets of St. Louis, FLAME once was immersed in hip hop, and heavily influenced by the culture. Thankfully, his story doesn’t end there.
Learn more »

Ministry’s Past and Future Converge in the Twin Cities
It seems fitting that this summer’s Rock the River Tour culminated in Minneapolis-St. Paul, an area rich with BGEA history. In the city where his father’s ministry began, Franklin Graham preached the Gospel to an entirely new generation last weekend.
Read the article »

Local Christian Leader Has High Hopes
Dan Buschow remembers an exciting phone call he received from the Crusade Ministries of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) last year. Franklin Graham and the BGEA had a new vision for the youth of the heartland. That vision happens to include his city, Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Read his story »

Pastor Saved at Billy Graham Crusade Gives Back
He was only 7 when he was saved at a Billy Graham Crusade. Now, says Rob Ketterling, “it is a joy to be able to give back.” Serving as one of the co-chairs of Rock the River in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Ketterling has devoted a huge chunk of time to ensuring that many lives will be changed when the tour hits Harriett Island on August 16.
Read his story »

Twin City Teens Look for Revival
Ben and some teens from his church youth group are planning to knock on doors to invite people to Rock the River. He’s stepping out of his comfort zone to promote Rock the River all over the Minneapolis-St. Paul area so that young souls will show up to the August 16 concert at Harriett Island. He is very concerned about the spiritual condition of his generation.
Read the article »

Franklin Graham Talks Rock the River
Franklin Graham praises God for what He has done so far through Rock the River, and challenges us to pray for the final stop in Minneapolis-St. Paul on August. 16.
Pray with us »

You Can Play a Part in Rock the River
So many lives have been eternally changed by YOUR prayers for the Rock the River Tour. Praise God for an amazing turnout in the Quad Cities and, now, lift up Minneapolis-St. Paul.
More prayer requests »

When close to 14,000 people converge in the Quad Cities, you know something major is happening. On August 8, it was a major move of God in the form of Rock the River. “It was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced in my life,” said Nadine. “It rocked for sure but seeing the hundreds of young adults and even families accept Christ was priceless!”

New Faces, Same Message of Love
Rock The River Quad Cities is over, but it won’t be soon forgotten. More than 13,800 youth and young adults came out for the third of four Rock The River stops.
Read the report »

Three for Three in Quad
Be sure to check out our real-time blog from Rock the River for hour by hour updates.
Click here for blogging quad style »

Quad Cities Pastors Anticipate Saturday … and Beyond
Although Rock the River in Quad Cities concluded at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, in some ways, this is just the beginning. Area pastors anticipate a long-term harvest that will influence church growth and impact youth for years to come.
Read their comments »

Meet the Artists Who Will Rock Quad Cities
An amazing collection of artists have been rocking the banks of the Mississippi this summer. And when Rock the River rolls into the Quad Cities on August 8, a new roster of artists will join in the effort, fusing music with a life-changing message.
Learn more »

Teens Pray for Move of God in Quad Cities
Teens living in the Quad Cities are “stoked” that the Rock the River Tour pulls into their region this Saturday. But it’s not all about the bands – they are praying for a big move of God.
Learn more »

ST. LOUIS: August 2
More than 65,000 youth and young adults came out for the second of four Rock The River stops. They sang, they moshed, and they praised God.

Continuous Praise in the Wake of St. Louis
No doubt, there was much applause and celebration in heaven over what took place beneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis as a part of Rock the River. But there was also visible celebration right there on the ground.
Read the article »

Light Burns Bright in the Shadow of the Arch
The residents of St. Louis have gotten used to seeing fireworks at the Mississippi riverfront this summer. But on August 2, they were treated to a light show of a completely different nature.
Read the report »

Rockin’ Under The Arch
The latest news, exclusive videos, and real-time updates “live” from St. Louis.
Check out the blog »

Renewing Hearts, Renewing the City
St. Louis might be known for the Gateway Arch and barbequed ribs, but after the Rock the River Tour stops there on August 2, local churches are praying their city will be marked by revival. George Stulac, Senior Pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church, says this has been the heart’s cry of his church for a very long time.
Read the article »

SKILLET: Drawing People to the Gospel
It’s hard to tell who is more excited that Skillet is playing Rock the River in St. Louis – the fans or lead singer John Cooper. “We are really excited about being a part of Rock the River,” Cooper said during a recent phone interview. “I am a huge Billy Graham fan. I have a real heart for evangelism and have since I was a kid. That’s what gets me going.”
Read the interview »

St. Louis Pastors Believe Tour Can Cross Barriers
Pastors in St. Louis pray that the Rock the River Tour, which hits their city Aug. 2, will transcend racial and socioeconomic divides. Mike Jones, senior pastor of Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, says he is eager to “see and sense a great outpouring of the spirit of God in a diverse way. I am hopeful that Rock the River will be not only culturally relevant, but it would appeal to diversity in a great, great way.”
Read the article »

Franklin Graham: ‘We Need You to Stand with Us’
On August 2 in St. Louis, thousands of young people will hear a desperately needed message, pointing them to the Only One who can heal their pain and give them hope and a future.
Read the article »

More than 10,000 youth and young adults filled LSU levee lots July 18 for the first stop of the summer concert tour – a new type of event for the BGEA.

Answered Prayers in Baton Rouge
“Christian bands played long and hard, lifting up the mighty Name of Jesus all afternoon and into the night,” said Franklin Graham. “The atmosphere was loud and rocking, but the youthful crowd quieted and listened attentively each time when I came on stage throughout the day to proclaim Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, NKJV).”
Read Franklin’s lettter »

New Life Springs Up Along Mississippi
Since January, Rock the River staff have been working to mobilize more than 200 Baton Rouge-area churches and more than 1,000 volunteers to make July 18 a success. It was! Hundreds came forward to begin their new lives with Jesus Christ.
Read the report »

Out of the Mouths of Fans
The tour of the summer is in full swing! Rock The River has been a smashing success and as we are heading up the Mississippi, we wanted to share the stories and comments that have been pouring in via email, Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere.
Read their stories »

Rockin’ Baton Rouge
Music and the Mississippi – the association is as long and varied as the river itself. Blues, jazz and Americana are just a few of the musical genres that emanate from the heartland. But after this weekend, people living along the Mississippi will be able to add rock and hip hop – packed with a powerful Gospel message – to the list.
Meet the artists »

Rock the River will Touch the Nations
“We are very, very excited,” said Bishop Charles Wallace when asked to describe the mood in Baton Rouge. “The time is right upon us. As we draw closer, in light of what pastors and ministries are doing, I think everybody will really mobilize and come together. We are expecting a great move of God.”
Read the article »

Baton Rouge is Fired Up
When Dino Rizzo returned to Baton Rouge after being gone a few weeks, he noticed that “Rock the River is everywhere! Everyday you are seeing something new about it, which is very encouraging,” says the pastor of Healing Place Church.
Read the interview »

Radical Evangelism and Rock the River
Singer, songwriter, producer and arranger Canton Jones is making waves in the music world, and along the river. On July 18, Jones will be performing his music when the Rock the River Tour debuts in Baton Rouge, La.
Check out the interview »

First Stop: Baton Rouge
Pastors across the area are excited about the tour. Roddy Conerley, executive director of the Baptist Association of Baton Rouge, says the city’s pastors want to give youth alternatives to violence and crime.
Learn more »


A Passion for America’s Youth
On the eve of Rock the River Baton Rouge, Franklin Graham spent some time talking to area radio personalities.
Listen to audio clips »

Rock the Social
This summer’s Rock the River Tour represents a new and exciting ministry opportunity for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. How people are connecting with the Tour is new and exciting, too.
Get social »

Helping Communities Along the Mississippi
Although it is billed as high-energy music tour, Rock the River is so much more. Youth in cities from Baton Rouge to Minneapolis-St. Paul have been spending time helping the homeless and engaging in other Community Action Projects.
Read the article »

Please Help Us Reach the Next Generation
The Rock the River Tour, a series of high energy evangelistic concerts, is poised to make a positive impact on youth along the Mississippi. But the undertaking is huge and we need YOU to partner with us!
Support us »

Fishing Along the Mississippi
FM419 is training designed to provide evangelism tools to today’s youth. In preparation for the Rock the River Tour this summer, other training weekends will be held during May in St, Louis, Quad Cities and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Learn more »

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