Church leaders pleased with results of Hope for You Festival

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2003

Church leaders are pleased with the results of Scott Dawson's Hope for You Festival, which was last Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

Not only did it help to bring the community together, but it also strengthened the relationships among the area churches that helped put the festival together.

"All of it was just incredible," said David Zorn, pastor at Goshen Baptist Church. "It was so obvious that the Lord was in everything."

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Zorn attended the festival all four nights and was pleased with the turnout.

"We weren't expecting a big crowd, but we had a broad spectrum of churches in the area."

Ed Walters, pastor at First Baptist Church, was also pleased with the festival.

"It did more to bring people together in Troy than what we've done in a long time," he said.

Walters said the festival also helped bring together the local churches. Although all churches are working to build the kingdom of God, Walters said planning the festival gave the churches even more common ground.

"It brought churches together to work on a cause in which we could mingle together and work side by side," he said.

Steve Rascoe, pastor at Park Memorial United Methodist Church, said Scott Dawson taught people universal truth.

"He was giving people a truth you can count on every single day," he said. "It doesn't matter what your race or economic status is."

He said Dawson was a powerful speaker and was able to draw people to God.

"Scott has the gift of proclaiming the truth," he said. "He has a story to tell that breaks borders; it's truth we can all hold to."

Along with the festival, Scott Dawson's Pathfinder Missions also made an impact on Troy.

"Every house in the City of Troy had someone visit and share the gospel," said Randy Bruner, the youth minister at Park Memorial.

Park Memorial had a large group of youth participate in Pathfinders, which ran in sync with the festival. Each day, youth went door to door sharing the gospel of Christ with some, praying with others and inviting everyone to the festival.

Bruner said it was awkward for his students to be in their hometown, talking to people they knew, but he said each one of them grew during the week. They went from being nervous and not wanting to do it on Wednesday to being excited about knocking on doors by Saturday.

"Every student surprised themselves," Bruner said.

He said now the key is to follow up with those people who made a decision for Christ.

"We need to follow up and make sure that those people who accepted Christ understand what it is to be a Christian," Bruner said.

Local church leaders are already talking about having another combined-effort event for Pike County.

Walters said he and Rascoe have already discussed finding a way to bring Charles Billingsley, one of the festival's musical guests, back to Troy for a community concert.

Bruner hopes another festival or crusade will find its way back to the city limits.

"If something happens again, it will be a lot bigger," Bruner said. "I think this time churches didn't realize what this was, but next time the churches will understand what effect this can have,"

Zorn said bringing something like the Hope for You Festival back would be good for Troy.

"We ought to do it every chance we get," he said.