By Ashley Rader
An area wide back-to-school youth rally will be held at Union Baptist Church, located at 1141 Highway 321 in Hampton, on Saturday, Aug. 4, beginning at 6 p.m.
The rally, which has been titled “Jesus Walks Our Hallways,” is designed for students in middle school and high school, but is open to all ages. The rally will feature different performers and singers as well as a message from David Finney, a Hampton High School student, who also serves as a preacher on occasion.
Event organizer Kristi Davenport said the idea for the rally came as a way to give older students a back-to-school event to attend before classes started. She said other church members noticed there were events for younger children, but not as many back-to-school activities for students just out of elementary school.
The rally will also provide church youth groups from the area a chance to come together in a larger fellowship event and will give Christian students the chance to refocus on their relationship with Jesus Christ before classes start for the new school year.
“We noticed a lot of times, before school starts, the parents are focused on getting the physical supplies for school, but the most important thing to take back to school is Jesus,” Davenport said. “We want our youth to focus on taking Jesus back to school with them. They want to take prayer out of schools and they are trying to ban God, but as long as the students take Him with them, He will be there.”
Speaker Finney added that the rally could serve as a strengthening tool for Christian students.
“During the summer, it is easy to get on fire for God,” he said. “It is harder to maintain that during the school year because there are more temptations at school. It is good to have the rally to get ready for school and to prepare to face the temptations that are there,” he said.
Finney, a junior at HHS, is a member of the band, the golf team and the baseball team. He has been serving as a preacher for the past three years. He said he felt the call to preach when he was 13 years old. Davenport added that Finney’s messages were uplifting and made the listeners want to do more in their walks with God.
“David’s messages are always good,” she said. “They make you want to stand up and do more for God.”
Davenport noted that all area youth groups are invited to attend the event or to participate if they have a performance or a testimony that they would like to share. The Union Baptist Youth Group will be performing a skit that they developed themselves.
“We want this to be an interactive worship service,” she said. “We want the youth to get up and get involved. Some of the smaller youth groups or churches in the area may not have had the opportunity to participate in a larger worship service before.”
Event planners are expecting around 200 youth to attend the rally and would be pleased to see that number exceeded.
The rally will begin at 6 p.m. with no set end time. Initial plans are to host the event outside, but in the case of rain it will be moved indoors. Matthew Pollock from Johnson City will serve as the praise and worship director for the rally. Everyone who attends the rally will receive a free hot dog dinner. Pooner’s Garage has donated the use of a flatbed trailer to use as a stage.
Youth groups who would like to participate in the rally can call Davenport at 957-6534 or Karen Matherly at 725-2771.