Last night (Saturday 24 September), Thurrock’s Civic Hall saw a big crowd again for the first of the two nights of youth-directed outreach.
Nearly 700 people gathered to see bands Beautiful Remnant, Empire Nation and LZ7, and hear a Gospel message given by Will Graham.
And nearly 140 mainly young people responded to that message, a large percentage of whom came forward to give their lives to Jesus Christ for the first time.
Core team members Edwin Hughes and Roy Edworthy praying outside the Civic Hall ahead of Rock Thurrock. It was Edwin who got the original vision from God to embark on the project, not just to see these evangelistic events, but to see a generation of young people equipped and empowered to take the message of Jesus to their peers.
Beautiful Remnant – five young ladies from West London – open the evening with a set of soulful songs.
Exeter and Cambridge-based rock band Empire Nation do a set of tubthumping youth-jumping anthems.
DJ Gbenga of Chafford Hundred Community Church helps with the ‘segues’ between acts…
… while up on the stage, Shell Perris (from Warrington) and Soldier (from West London but living in Manchester) do the talking.
After a moving and challenging video about the former lead singer of American rock band Korn in which he gives his testimony of conversion to Christ, Will Graham gives his message about going the right way in life. His talk is based on the scripture from Proverbs 14:12, There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
Many people come forward in response to the message and say the prayer of salvation. Then the encouragers come alongside them to help them understand the process of coming to Christ.
LZ7 pump out some loud sounds and the crowd is seething with teenagers (and a few oldies!) jumping their hearts out. They’d all come from the four secondary schools and Palmer’s College which LZ7 had visited during the week. The kids went crazy!
Lindz of LZ7 does another appeal at the end of his set – encouragers scramble in order to help with this unexpected addition to the evening as loads more young people remain at the front to be taken through the literature.
Even more people are expected to fill the hall tonight, and the Rock Thurrock team are expectant of a greater ‘catch’. Andy Blakey says the word for today is Luke 5:4-7:
(Jesus) said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
“It’s all hands to the deck today,” Andy said, anticipating the need for all those who signed up as encouragers after the Christian Life & Witness Courses in June to make themselves available to help bring in the load tonight.
So – please – be there!