LOUISBURG — Organizers of the Impact Challenge weekend say there were significant successes and lessons learned through the event, held Friday through Sunday.
Zebulon United Methodist Church Pastor Tom Hollis, a member of the event’s organizing board, estimated 700 people attended the faith-based showcase of Christian bands, speakers and vendors at Norris Creek Outdoor Entertainment Complex. The weekend was billed as the North Carolina debut of the movie “Jackson’s Run” and the national kickoff for Impact Challenge Youth Weekend, which challenges people to commit their lives to God.
“It was thrilling to see the different churches come together and celebrate together,” Hollis said. “I think we forged some very good relationships with the other churches who participated in the event, and (we) look forward to drawing our different denominations together for other events in the future.”
The screening of “Jackson’s Run” drew a crowd of about 500 on Friday. Mel Ferrell, a member of Wakefield Central Baptist Church, witnessed the movie’s impact on youths as it told the story of a teenager coping with peer pressure.
“It was a good message to kids to stand up for your rights to be a Christian, especially if it’s not the (accepted) way,” Ferrell said of film. “It was just a great atmosphere with prayer, which our society is missing out on these days.”
Zebulon teenager Wade Creech said the skits performed at Impact Challenge made him realize he was taking life for granted.
“We were active and had live bands playing,” Creech said. “It really brought it down to a youth perspective.”
Bunn teen Brittney Goodwin said the movie showed her people can go from a bad situation to a good one, and that it is important to have a good heart and forgive. She also enjoyed the interaction between her youth group and those from other area churches over the weekend.
“I loved it. ... (Others) seemed to like it just as much as I did,” Goodwin said. “ ... We got to hang out with different families, too.”
Realizing the event got its message across, event organizer Cindy Privette said the event met its primary goal.
“One of the purposes of the weekend was to help families and young people to understand their relationships to each other and to God, and the hope that God offers,” Privette said. “That was accomplished on many levels.”
Impact Challenge planners had hoped to attract thousands for the weekend. They say the time of year and the fact it was a first attempt at organizing a large-scale event at the local venue likely affected turnout.
The event drew people from eastern Wake County and as far away as Wilson and Rocky Mount.
“We always want big numbers, but numbers wasn’t what it was all about,” Hollis said. “There was profound interaction, and you have to accept that’s what God’s will is – to reach those people.”
Wakefield Central Pastor Keith Wagner said Impact Challenge strengthened the wider Christian community in the area.
“It was a great experience for me, personally, and getting to know people from other churches,” he said. “There was a good interracial mix there, as well. It breaks down tons of Christian barriers.”