After a three-year delay due to the pandemic, Hope Rally finally opened at Emerald City Community Church. Hope Rally offers an intentional relationship-building evangelism outreach for an urban Seattle audience.
The church specifically engaged their audience by offering gospel concerts with award-winning artists, spending time as a church family in prayer and preparing to offer hundreds of Bible studies. More than 330 people gathered in the sanctuary of Emerald City Adventist Community Church on July 16, 2023, for the opening night of Hope Rally.
The main sanctuary came alive with a captivating concert by musical artist Karen Clark Sheard, setting the stage for Debleaire Snell, Breath of Life speaker and director, to present biblical stories in a way that was both relatable and easily understood. This powerful combination of engaging activities and accessible teachings resonated deeply with the guests, leaving them singing in the name of Jesus as they headed home that night.
“Evangelism is not dead,” observed EuGene Lewis, Washington Conference regional ministries coordinator and Emerald City Adventist Community Church senior pastor. Instead of solely relying on theological and intellectual arguments, Hope Rally demonstrated the power of fostering strong relationships with people, no matter how they think or believe. “We can still have strong relationships with people who think differently than we do,” Lewis emphasized.
Hope Rally was designed with three goals in mind: foster a positive impact in the community, inspire people to make the decision to follow Christ and revitalize the church. With this vision in mind, Hope Rally provided a dynamic and engaging program every night they held services for two weeks.
Recognizing the importance of engaging families, Hope Rally offered a dedicated children's program and a complimentary dinner. Lewis explained, "We want to give people no excuse for not being here."
Parents quickly learned that church is exactly where their children wanted to be. “A couple of kids told their parents they were hungry, but they didn’t want to go to [fast food]. They wanted to come to church to eat,” Lewis recounted.
Hope Rally at Emerald City Adventist Community Church stands as a testament to the power of compassion, inclusivity and genuine connections. By creating an inviting space and going beyond the conventional approach to evangelism, the church was able to make a positive impact on the community, revitalize itself and encourage individuals to embark on their spiritual journeys.