Scott Dawson bringing #039;Hope for You Festival#039; to Troy June 26-29

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 9, 2003

They are everywhere.

They're on the side of trash cans downtown, in store windows and on church bulletin boards and they all express the same invitation.

They are all invitations to the Scott Dawson Hope For You Festival June 26-29 at p.m. nightly at Trojan Arena.

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The event is an outreach of Scott Dawson Evangelical Association in Birmingham and promises to be four nights of fun for the whole family.

Activities include special musical appearances by contemporary Christian artists and special speakers.

The even will culminate with Youth Night on June 29.

The festival is being brought to Pike County by the Pike County Ministerial Association and over 40 Pike County churches.

"It's been several years since Pike County has had a county-wide evangelical effort," said Dr. Don Hatcher, pastor of Hephzibah Baptist Church.

""Various churches do their own campaigns, but we haven't come together."

Hatcher is a member of the ministerial organization and sits on the festival's steering committee with six other local pastors including the Rev. Steve Rascoe of Park Memorial Methodist Church, Dr. Ed Walter of First Baptist Church of Troy, Dr. John Brannon of First United Methodist Church, Pastor Otis Derrah of Bush Memorial Baptist Church, Pastor David Zorn of Goshen Baptist Church and Pastor Les Teel of Troy Vineyard Christian Fellowship.

The committee works closely with Mike Greer, a member of Dawson's staff, and holds regular meetings to discuss the preparations for the upcoming event.

"Our primary role is promoting and recruiting workers, counselors, nursery workers, choir members, set-up crews and ushers," Hatcher said.

The committee is accepting volunteers for all types of work, but counselors have to attend one 90-minute mandatory training class.

The next two training classes are June 12 and 19 at 7 p.m. at Park Memorial Methodist Church.

Hatcher said the counselors will be instructed on how to respond to those who make a public commitment of faith during the festival.

"They'll be taught how to get information from the person and the type of commitment they've made," Hatcher said.

"They'll also be trained to answer any questions.

There won't be a lot of counseling to help the person make the commitment, the counselors are just there to respond."

Hatcher said he and the other members of the Ministerial Association first heard of the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association from local youth who attended Dawson's Pathfinder camps.

The Pathfinder program groups together three teenagers who visit the locals, say a prayer with them and invite them to come to the festival.

The camps take place during Dawson's festivals.

"We felt like there were people in Pike County who didn't have a personal relationship with God," Hatcher said.

"We wanted to give them the opportunity to hear the gospel and make that decision."

Hatcher hopes to max out the Trojan Center, which seats 5,000 people.

"We haven't set any goals, but with the number of churches participating, we're hoping," he said.

Though the event is still weeks away, the church community is already feeling its effects.

"It has really strengthened friendships between the churches," Hatcher said.

"It's one of the few things we've done that has brought the churches together with a common goal."

Individual or church volunteers can contact any member of the steering committee.

Hatcher said they will be recruiting "right up to the very end."