Will Graham Celebration: 'God Knows Your Name!'
5,000 Attend Red River Will Graham Celebration at Gainesville High School
As workers began packing away the stage equipment and stacking the chairs, local organizers of the Red River Will Graham Celebration – an event three years in the making – were expressing their excitement over the 5,000 people who attended, and the more than 190 that came forward at the invitation to make a decision to follow Jesus.
“It's been great to see the cooperation that we've had; hundreds of volunteers, people coming together not only in our community, but in our county," said local businessman Johnny Leftwich, who served as the chair of the Celebration executive committee. "It's been quite a joy watching people working together for one purpose and one purpose only: to see others begin a relationship with Jesus Christ."
Throughout the weekend, Graham spoke about the opportunity to find purpose and hope in Jesus. “Maybe in this world you feel like a nobody. You feel like this world doesn’t care for you. There may be some of you here tonight who are thinking about suicide. You’re saying, ‘What’s the point, Will? No one’s really going to care if I’m here or there.’ My friends, I’m here to tell you tonight, God knows your name!”
Said Leftwich, "Will has done an outstanding job. He's a great man of God who preaches the Bible in a simplified form that even the youngest can understand and realize what he's talking about."
Graham was joined on-stage throughout the weekend by a variety of musical acts. The Afters, who performed all three days, are one of today's top Christian rock bands, and have had songs featured on many television shows, including "The Biggest Loser" and "Grey's Anatomy.” On Saturday, East Texas native Tedashii highlighted student night with his unique southern style of hip-hop. The audience also had the opportunity to hear from the Northern Ireland-based Rend Collective Experiment.
On Saturday morning a special event for children entertained kids with bounce houses, balloon animals, games, and a program tailored just for them featuring children's performer Tommy Toombs.
"We've had a great weekend, but this isn't the end," said Celebration Director Josh Holland. "The Red River Will Graham Celebration will have a presence in the community for several more months. Further, the trainings that have taken place, the decisions that were made this weekend, and the unity of the local churches that have worked together in this process will continue to make an impact for years to come."
The Red River Will Graham Celebration was the first of two consecutive events in the Lone Star state. Next weekend the Trinity Valley Will Graham Celebration will take place in Terrell, Texas. Visit www.WillGrahamCelebrations.org for information. One can also follow Will on Facebook and Twitter.
About Will Graham: Will is the third generation of Grahams to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the banner of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). He is the grandson of Billy Graham and the oldest son of Franklin Graham. Will has spoken to audiences on six continents since beginning his evangelistic ministry in 2006.