Last summer, a local youth pastor sat behind his desk at a rural Van Zandt County church, praying for families in the community and contemplating the lives of three young men.
All three were younger than 20, and all had committed suicide.
Pastor Ron Brey, of Pruitt Baptist Church, felt the need to move. He left the confined area of his office, so he drove down Texas Highway 110 to the new Van football stadium.
While circling the track at the stadium, Brey was approached by Jared Moffatt, Van ISD athletic director.
The two began to talk about the need for an evangelization effort to bless the community, particularly the youth, with a sense of hope. They talked about filling that stadium with the Holy Spirit.
Brey was familiar with several evangelization ministries, but he remembered one that seemed to be what they needed: Rick Gage’s GO TELL Crusade.
From that walk, hundreds of believers from local churches, businesses and communities began to come together to make a GO TELL Crusade a reality for Van Zandt County.
Meetings were held, prayers were lifted, funds were solicited and details began to take shape.
At the kickoff banquet in February at Sky Ranch, more than 500 believers gathered to commit to making the Crusade a success. Gage, the evangelist behind the GO TELL Crusades, told the audience about growing up as a “preacher’s kid” and the ministry of his father, nationally known evangelist Fred Gage.
Rick Gage left a successful career as a college football coach to enter ministry full time. His coaching experience gave him a front-row seat in the lives of young players who made bad decisions that cost them their lives.
The following evening, more than 100 gathered for committee assignments and initial training to cover the aspects of bringing a four-day evangelization event to life.
The GO TELL Crusade will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Van ISD Football Stadium and end Wednesday with a message to young people.
Each meeting will include a praise-and-worship service before the evening’s message. A countywide choir will perform Sunday night. Members from churches across the county will be available for counseling and referrals at the close of each service. Gage and his ministry team will be appearing at several school assemblies with a nationally known bike team. Gage will be encouraging young people to take a stand against anything that can hurt their mind, their body or their future.
Rhita Koches is a native Tylerite and has served as county judge in Van Zandt County since 2004. Judge Koches is active in many Van Zandt County clubs and service organizations. She has been the co-host the County’s National Day of Prayer celebration at the county courthouse since taking office. She and her husband, Garry, are members of St. Therese Catholic Church in Canton.