Nine months of planning lay ahead for the Task Force Group putting together the Sandhills Go Tell Crusades, to be held at Richmond Senior High School’s Raider Stadium in September.
The Sandhills Go Tell Crusades are scheduled for Sept. 16-19, and are being put on by Rick Gage, a former football coach. According to Task Force Co-Chair Thad Ussery, Gage’s father, Freddie Gage, came to Rockingham in 1986 to hold a crusade that Ussery said many in the community should still recall.
Mickey Briles , pastor of Beverly Hills Baptist Church in Rockingham, met Rick Gage two summers ago in Atlanta when he took his youth group to a camp.
According to Briles and Ussery, the crusade will have music, worship, preaching and encouraging messages filled with hope for people struggling in hard economic times.
“We are calling people that need hope, seeking a life of change,” said Briles.
“It takes a lot of planning and meetings,” said Ussery.
The next meeting will be held Feb. 20 at 11:30 a.m. at Pat’s Kitchen on Broad Street in Rockingham. Pastors from all churches, leaders in churches and church organizations are welcome to come and get involved.
Members of the Task Force Group, apart from Ussery and Briles, are Gene Willard of Beverly Hills Baptist Church, Earl Rose of Freedom Baptist Church, Gene Alexander, pastor of First Assembly, David Benton, member of Pee Dee Association, Chuck McKnight, pastor of Cobb Memorial Church, J.J. Jackson, member of Jefferson Park Church, Cathy Wilson of Roberdel Baptist Church, T.K. Thrower of First Assembly, Paul Hoggard, member of Freedom Baptist Church and James Clemmons of Grace Temple Fellowship in Wallace, South Carolina.
“We encourage citizens to pray for this coming up,” said Wilson. “It’s going to take a lot of work. It gives people something to look forward to. We are expecting the Lord to move in a great way.”
Wilson said that when Gage’s father came to Rockingham for the crusade 25 years ago, “the stadium was full every night.”
“The school is very gracious to let us use their stadium,” said Ussery. “This is exciting.”
Members of the Task Force Group are calling Gage the ‘Billy Graham of small communities.’
Ussery said there are a few ways he can relate to Gage, and that things in Gage’s life parallel things in Ussery’s life.
“That’s what got me so interested,” said Ussery. “He’s so dedicated.”
Briles said Wednesday night of the crusades would focus on the youth of the area, and will be an exciting night. Briles said in general, the crusade will draw people who are willing to make decisions in their life.
Gage holds crusades in other countries as well, like Russia, Costa Rica and the Philippines.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.