The July 16 Together 2016 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was mind-blowing and life-changing – a historic, our finest hour, once in a lifetime, this is the moment, remnant, taste of heaven experience.
We were blessed to be among the “million standing for Jesus” (there were actually about 350,000 who signed up to attend) in Washington, D.C., to spread the word about the If 7:14 revival movement at Together 2016. We left both changed and humbled.
During the scheduled time of 9a.m.-9p.m., the event featured over 40 Christian speakers and bands, including Francis Chan, Ravi Zacharias, Nick Hall, Sammy Rodriquez, Ann Voskamp, Jenny Allen, Dr. Tony Evans, Michael W. Smith, Casting Crowns, Hillsong United, Kirk Franklin, Jeremy Camp, Crowder Band, Lecrae, and many others.
We were challenged to use the hashtag #JesusChangesEverything, which ended up trending on Twitter, echoing one of the resounding messages of the day.
Throughout the day, the speakers, music, Scripture readings, guided prayer sessions, and challenges to action inspired us in five key areas: pray, learn, share, love, reset. Each area challenged and equipped us with a resolve to go forth fearlessly with the message of Jesus Christ. There was a constant call to “reset,” with a focus on recognizing and repenting of our sin, renewing our commitment to Jesus Christ, serving others, and sparking revival.
Best of all, the gathering wasn’t about Christian celebrities, but about Christ and serving Him and others in humility. With heads bowed in prayer, people falling to their knees, limited recognition of speakers and bands, no sponsor mentions, and a focus on the magnitude of our God … all the credit was given to Jesus Christ. And in the week prior to the event, Together 2016 purposefully reached out to the city of Washington, D.C., with over 12,000 service projects!
Best of all, the gathering wasn’t about Christian celebrities, but about Christ and serving Him and others in humility.
At the same time, the event itself and the unbelievable logistics demonstrated the Body of Christ at work, each doing its part in excellence and servanthood. We were both stunned at how nearly flawless the day went. There were miles of fencing, widespread security, a massive stage, multiple jumbotrons, first aid tents, hundreds of portable toilets, an army of videographers capturing moments in the crowd, an impressive event app, extensive social media interaction, and the list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, due to the scorching heat, the U.S. Park Police shut down the event five hours earlier than expected. It was reported they had 400 medical emergencies because of the heat. Nick Hall and the event team agreed to respect the authorities and close down the event at 4:00 p.m. They quickly ushered Francis Chan on stage for a ten-minute talk, a final prayer by Dr. Tony Evans, and worship songs by Hillsong United.
And even though the event team would obviously be disappointed, they gave full recognition that God’s plan is way bigger than any event. They said it was never their intention to focus on “filling the Mall,” but instead on “filling them all,” referring to the hearts and souls of those being sent out to win others for Christ.
It was never their intention to focus on “filling the Mall,” but instead on “filling them all.”
In the end, Francis Chan’s brief message left us all wanting more. His reading of Matthew 10 was powerful, and his final question challenged us to our core: “We prayed together, we worshiped together – will we stand and be rejected together?”
Capture the spirit of Together 2016 in this video, which – together with prayer for the next generation – comprised the final commissioning of the event: