'Small Town Billy Graham' to host South Central Kentucky Crusade

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By The Staff

Evangelist Rick Gage, once dubbed "the Small Town Billy Graham" by Associated Press because of his emphasis on outreaches in small communities, will conduct his South Central Kentucky Go Tell Crusade at Taylor County High School football stadium on Sept. 14-17, beginning at 7 each night.

A pre-crusade youth rally will take place Saturday, Sept. 13 in the Taylor County High School gym, beginning at 6 p.m.

Rick Stanley, step-brother of the late Elvis Presley, will speak at the Sept. 13 youth rally and share his testimony at the crusade on Sept. 15.

Stanley served as personal assistant to Presley and became a Christian shortly after his death. He has been in ministry for more than 25 years, has spoken in more than 4,000 churches and to millions of young people about the problems of alcohol and drugs.

Chuck Sullivan with Chuck Sullivan Music Ministries will serve as worship leader for the crusade, and guest artist Joy Fowler of Atlanta, Ga. will perform each night.

Sept. 17 is student night, with free pizza offered beginning at 6 p.m.

"We are very excited that Rick Gage is holding a crusade in Campbellsville. He is a dynamic, much sought-after speaker who is making a difference in communities across America," said Dr. Skip Alexander, co-chairman of the South Central Kentucky Go Tell Crusade.

"Rick challenges, inspires and motivates people of all ages; and we believe his life-changing message will have a very positive influence on our community."

For more than a decade, Gage has been filling high school football stadiums with Graham-style crusades in small communities like Dalhart, Texas; Gaffney, S.C.; Gardendale, Ala.; Dublin, Ga.; and Paris, Tenn.

As with Billy Graham Crusades, local churches work together to help make the crusades a success by nurturing new believers as they follow Christ - only there may be dozens of churches instead of hundreds.

"God gave me a heart for rural America," said Gage, whose ministry is headquartered in the Atlanta area. "People in small towns need Jesus just as much as in big towns."

Over the years, many well-known individuals have spoken on Gage's platform, including nationally known athletes; two former Miss Americas; Christian leaders Josh McDowell, Jerry Falwell; James Robison and Pilgrim's Pride Corp. Chairman Bo Pilgrim.

Major college football coaches Tommy Bowden and Mark Richt; Mike Ditka, former coach of the Chicago Bears; and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar all have endorsed his ministry.

Gage and his crusade team also visit local prisons, youth detention centers and high schools, where his nationally acclaimed "On Track" school assembly program focuses on life's choices concerning drugs, alcohol abuse, teen suicide and premarital sex. On Track has touched two million students nationwide.

In addition to crusades, Gage started a Go Tell youth camp ministry in 1989. Since then, Go Tell camps in Colorado, Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia have trained more than 75,000 teens and leaders in evangelism. Camp speakers have included well-known Christian leaders such as Ergun Caner, Johnny Hunt, James Merritt and Josh McDowell, and professional football players Shaun Alexander and Danny Wuerffel.

Gage's life story is chronicled in the book "More Than a Game." As Mark Richt, head football coach of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, notes in the foreword, "This book is not about football; and actually, it's not about Rick Gage. It's about the wonderful grace of God who extends His love to you and me through Jesus Christ."

For more information about the South Central Kentucky Go Tell Crusade, contact Justin Watson, associate in evangelism, Campbellsville Baptist Church Pastor's Study, at 789-2092. For more information about Gage's ministry, visit www.gotellcrusades.com.