From all over B.C., from Alberta, and even the Yukon, 1,500 youth came to the seventh annual “Rush” event, sponsored by Willow Park Church (MB), Kelowna, B.C., – but this year was different. It was prayer, says organizer Joel Feddersen, that made the amazing difference.
“For the first time, we did a call to salvation,” he says. “And hundreds of kids stood up!” In past years, Rush had focused on discipleship (as well as fun on nearby Big White ski slopes). But this year, Feddersen, worship leader Phil Wickham, and speaker Jeremy Kinniburgh believed the teens were so eager that the leaders “just went for it” and were amazed at what God did.
Willow Park’s summer camp, the Ark, has always been held under a cover of prayer. But this year, church prayer teams started to pray for the wintertime Rush event – weeks ahead of time – and even went to pray on site before the teens started to arrive. The difference was tangible, says Feddersen. This year, the gathering was “very holy. The difference was definitely prayer.”
For the second year running, the event did not include a big name speaker. Instead, a local youth pastor (Kinniburgh) from the Alliance church in nearby Vernon presented the message. Fedderson says future rallies will probably stick with this grassroots model, utilizing gifted youth leaders, “people who connect with kids every week,” rather than those who do speaking tours.
In past years, the large numbers who came to Rush provided a logistical challenge, as attendance kept growing and the adequacy of large sites diminished. But now, Willow Park has many campuses – so the church’s own facilities were used to house the 1,500.
“This was the best year ever,” says Feddersen. And yes, work is already underway on next year’s Rush.