Marshall County churches ‘becoming one’ to change culture of ‘Meth Mountain’comment (1)
October 17, 2013
Fall harvest came early in Marshall County when more than 1,300 made decisions for Christ during the Rick Gage GO TELL Crusade and pre-crusade events in late September. Of the decisions made, more than 700 were for salvation.
Crusade co-chairman Roy Sullivan, of Arab, said the county has a national reputation as being the meth capital because of the amount of meth used by young people, and is even known as “Meth Mountain.”
“We have been praying and planning and putting all of our efforts into making this crusade happen for Christ and for Him alone,” he said. “This is not about us but is truly all about winning souls for the kingdom of God.”
Gage, president of GO TELL Ministries in Atlanta and an international evangelist for 25 years, was joined by guest speakers Jose Alvarez, Tony Nolan and Steve Paysen. Musical guests were Joy Fowler and Roy Sullivan’s son, Chuck Sullivan, who serves as GO TELL’s music director.
“Marshall County was an area that was ripe for an evangelistic harvest,” Gage said. “The preparation for this outreach was in place for more than a year. To have a successful evangelistic event, preparation and leadership are the two key components.”
Randall Stoner, director of missions for Marshall Baptist Association, was one of the hundreds of volunteers helping with the event. More than 40 churches in the county worked together to pull off the crusade and pre-crusade activities. Nearly 300 volunteers served at the crusade as encouragers.
“As far as I know, we’d never had a county-wide, multidenominational crusade,” Stoner said, noting the success and excitement resulting from the event. “The churches are becoming one like the Book of John talks about” — even deciding to schedule a multidenominational Harvest Festival (Halloween-alternative event) in Arab on Oct. 31.
And Marshall County churches are even talking about a crusade in Albertville in 2015, he added.
Crusade co-chair Steven Swords, pastor of Victory Baptist Church, Guntersville, said Gage not only spoke at the nightly crusade meetings at the Guntersville High School football stadium from Sept. 22 to 25 but also at several pre-crusade events. The events included county and city jails, all of the schools (more than 7,000 students total), several football practices, a pre-crusade youth rally and a Celebrate Recovery meeting for recovering alcoholics.
About 40 were saved at the jails, 80 at the youth rally and 12 at the Celebrate Recovery meeting, Swords said. “Rick Gage would do whatever he could do to reach the lost, even leading a body builder to Christ while he was working out.”
At the schools, Gage spoke about the dangers of drugs, alcohol abuse and premarital sex while the Outcast BMX Bike Team performed.
“After one of the high school assemblies, a student came up to me with tears in her eyes, very broken,” Gage said. “After hearing her heart and concern, I was able to share the gospel with her. Right there, next to the high school gym, we led her to Christ.”
Swords also led a young man addicted to prescription medication to Christ. The young man had not planned to attend the event but saw the stadium lights on and — being a former football player — decided to stop in and see what was going on.
Another story that caught Swords’ attention was that of a man who encouraged his unsaved sister-in-law to attend the event.
She did not go but agreed to listen over the phone. The man kept a check to make sure she was still listening, but after about 20 minutes she was no longer on the other end of the phone. He looked down and saw his sister-in-law kneeling at the altar ready to be saved — before Gage had even concluded his message.
“There were so many prayers answered of those who had been praying for lost family members and friends who got saved,” Gage said. “God is still in the saving business, and He still uses crusade evangelism to reach multitudes for Christ.”
(Neal Embry contributed)