By John R. Schirmer
What started as a dream for two Nashville High School seniors turned into reality late Sunday afternoon as more than 600 teens and adults gathered at Scrapper Stadium for Aftershock, a student-led Christian rally.
Emily McCauley and Gabi Dougan say that the idea started forming last summer after a mission trip to New Orleans. “We felt like God was calling us to do something in school,” Dougan said.
An early idea for an event didn’t work out, but the girls still “had the desire to do something at school. A guest at our Bible study told us to do something in the school and community,” according to Dougan. “Emily and I started talking and praying, asking God to show us what to do.”
From there, they decided on a youth rally for students at Nashville and surrounding schools. They even set a date, but it didn’t happen. “We were about to give up,” Dougan said.
Then they went to Church on the Rock at Texarkana, where the speaker from the Bible study asked how things were going. “We said we couldn’t do it. She said April 23 looks good,” McCauley said.
The next day, the seniors scheduled an appointment with Superintendent Doug Graham to ask about using the stadium, or Scrapper Arena in case of rain. “He approved the stadium,” McCauley said.
From there, “God took care of everything,” McCauley said. “Everything fell into place” within a two-week time.
Dougan said they “wanted to reach the unreached. Money was the last thing we thought of.”
As it turned out, finances weren’t a problem. “Donations paid for all of it. God took care of it,” Dougan said.
McCauley and Dougan put together the program, inviting the praise and drama team from Church on the Rock to participate. They also lined up local speakers to share their Christian testimonies with the students. Games and food were also included, along with prizes – all provided by local businesses and individuals.
Aftershock was selected as the name for the event “because we wanted to create an aftershock in the school and community,” McCauley said.
When Sunday night came and went, the girls decided that Aftershock “exceeded expectations,” according to McCauley.
“We started off saying that if one person was saved, it was worth it. Even if not anybody was saved, the seed was planted,” Dougan said. When the altar call was over, 80 decisions had been made, she said.
“We give God all the glory,” Dougan said.
Many of the students at Aftershock attended meetings the next morning on the junior high and high school campuses.
Tonight (April 26) First Assembly of God Church in Nashville will hold a meeting for Youth Alive, a Christian organization in schools. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.