At the moment, Dr. Charles Whiteside says, he has no estimate on how much the next East Texas Crusade for Christ will cost.
Expense has to be taken into consideration, yes, but the real accounting willcome the evenings of June 22-25 when Bill Glass invites audience members to approach the stage to make professions of faith.
At this time three years ago, at least three dozen people were a few days into a new spiritual life, Whiteside recalled, after accepting Jonathan Lotz’s invitation during the three-day, 2011 crusade at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
It had an impact, he said.
“I don’t have an exact count, but at least 34 people made a profession of faith and there may have been more. There were a number of re-dedications,” Whiteside explained. As many as 5,000 people attended the mid-April event that year. “That made an impact. Not as big an impact as we may have a liked, but it made an impact.”
From Lotz (a grandson of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham) to Glass (a former football star who credits Graham with urging him to launch his own ministry in 1969), the goal is to draw large and diverse crowds with a cross-section of support from the local faith community.
Prior to a standout career in the National Football League, Glass was a consensus All-American at Baylor University, where he helped establish a Campus Crusade for Christ chapter. A defensive end, Glass went on to a pro-ball career, playing with the 1964 Cleveland Browns to win the NFL World Championship (two years before the first Super Bowl).
In 22 years of amateur and professional football, Glass’ was a four-time All-Pro and is include in the College and Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
“I think he’ll have a lot of appeal,” Whiteside said. “A lot of folks remember him as a great football star.”
According to his biography at billglass.org, online headquarters of his Champions for Life ministry, Glass spent his offseasons at Southwestern Seminary and participated in several of Graham’s crusades. A few years shy of a half-a-century as an evangelist, Glass remains committed to his outreaches for at-risk youth and the incarcerated.