‘No Denominational Lines’ at Missouri’s Decision America Rally
A sea of umbrellas floated above the Capitol grounds-orange, blue, lime green, dark red, polka dots and stripes.
It was a lot like the Church gathered there, with all kinds of denominations represented.
"It's not Lutherans over here, Methodists over there, Baptists here." That's Chris Brandt, who wore a long black raincoat and had beads of rain speckling her glasses. Outside, it was cold and wet, the wind occasionally threatening to whisk away someone's umbrella.
But in Brandt's eyes, "It's a beautiful day because all these people are here. ... And there's no denominational lines."
More than 6,700 people grabbed their hats, ponchos and umbrellas Tuesday and made their way to Missouri's State Capitol in Jefferson City. It was Franklin Graham's 23rd stop on the Decision America Tour and they weren't about to miss it.
"We all need to stick together," Jim Bertram said about his fellow Christians.
Bertram wore a biker vest but didn't bring his bike out in the pouring rain. Instead, he came by car with others from his church, Osage Beach First Assembly of God about an hour away.
Tim Anna is pastor there.
"There's been too much division in our church, and as a result there's division in our nation," Anna said. That division can be hard to overcome, he added, but "events like this give opportunities to bridge the gaps."
Just a couple weeks ago, his church joined other denominations in a National Day of Prayer gathering. Like Brandt, Anna spoke about the need for Christ's followers to unite, especially in such "a pivotal year" election wise.
"A nation divided will fall," he said. Yet events like Decision America show that people are coming together in agreement for a common cause.
"This isn't a politician. This isn't a political party," Anna said, waving his arm over the crowd. "This is a nation."
By noon, thousands were standing in the squishy grass in front of the stage, filling up the sidewalks and settling in across the street to hear Franklin Graham. He took the stage, standing up straight against the cold rain.
"Some people have asked if I'm running for office," he said. "No," he answered emphatically. "But I am running a campaign for God."
That means advocating for God in a society that has tried to trample Him out and electing Christ-following people in leadership positions-two things he's encouraging others to do, too.
People might not like you for it, he added, but "it's not about people liking you. It's about standing for truth."
Standing up front was Cassandra Dickerson, marketing assistant for a Christian talk radio network. She's a huge supporter of the U.S. military and sings the national anthem at various events. She tears up when she thinks about her two young daughters who aren't growing up in the same kind of America she did.
"I am so thankful that in a day and age when people are so politically correct, Franklin Graham doesn't care," she said. "He stands bold. ... It's refreshing."
Before today, Dickerson wasn't planning to vote in November's presidential election. She's not a fan of the major players right now, she said, but felt "convicted" when Franklin Graham was talking about how every vote matters. By the end of the tour stop, she said she'd changed her mind and will reconsider the candidates.
"I'm going to vote now," she said confidently.
(c) Billy Graham Evangelistic Association www.billygraham.org