We spent yesterday at Qualcomm Stadium in support of TheCall California. Of course, now we get the repeated question 'how did it go?', so I'll try and give you the highlights in one fell swoop. Dig Shelley Paulson's excellent photostream here.
Who knows. More than I could count, fewer than I'd hoped. One newspaper said 33,000, and I'd say that's fair. There were a good 8,000 on the field between the end zone and the far 20 yard line, which made for a great feel from the stage, but left some real gaps in the stands. I was encouraged with Jim Garlow's words the night before - that if we come to do business, it really doesn't matter how many show up. That said, I still wish we would have filled it. :)
I love TheCall team. You could not buy this kind of loyalty or good attitudes. Digital hats off to the portion of the team who labored in California in advance for the two months leading up to TheCall. We are glad you're coming home. Also good to reunite with Miss Alysha, who served us so well in the office during the regional tour and DC. She's gone off to get an education but took the weekend to fly and be with us, where she worked hard all day long.
Love him or hate him, you cannot deny that James Dobson has influenced two generations of American Christians. He and his wife, Shirley, spent a good number of hours on the stage. They were very gracious and kind to anyone who connected with them.
Pat Boone arrived mid afternoon and stayed until the very end, sporting white boots and telling a story about Jimmy Hendrix back in the day. He was a chatterbox in the wings and seemed like a guy I'd like to have lunch with.
Allen Hood shared a chilling dream he had from the Lord, regarding what he called 'the drunkenness of California. It was the most sober moment of the day for me.
The usual cohorts of Lou, Mike Bickle, Dutch Sheets and others were there as well. After doing so many, TheCall has a family feel sidestage. I like that.
Straight up, I'm forgetting people. Important people, so I won't bother mentioning most of them and no one feels bad.
I love Radiant - they show up full force and play at 8:30am to 70,000 empty seats and One Supreme Guest. Then they go stand in the crowd and yell and sing and pray and dance like there's no tomorrow. This, friends, is character, and Richy and Jess and Peeps have it. I've got tears in my eyes thinking about it.
I could have listened to Christine Mueller sing her San Francisco song all night long.
Another standout for me was Gabe Ahn. I'd never heard him lead before, but he carried the tired crowd through a raucus set to close the day, including the fastest ever played rendition of "Undignified" ever played.
Fifteen minutes before we pulled the plug, near the end of Gabe's set, I was sitting on a gear box on the far right side of the stage. I joked to my peeps "It doesn't seem quite like TheCall because we haven't had to throw anyone out yet."
Three minutes later, on the far side of the stage, some guy leaps the bike rack and climbes up on the stage. The peeps around me later told me me I said something like "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA!" as I bolted past the guests on stage and raced toward the guy. By this time, he was on his feet and headed for Lou full boogey with a wild look in his eye.
We were set to collide front center stage - I was hoping I could throw him off the front of the stage if necessary. Of course, at this point, something occured to me - that which I was attempting might actually happen. I might actually be the first guy to reach this nut, in which case I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen.
About the time I reach him and go to grab his sweatshirt, a minimum of six security guards (on loan from the International Church of Las Vegas) land on the guy from all sides. Honestly, it might have been eight or ten. All I know is they put a world of hurt on him in a very short amount of time.
With the band still rocking, I glance up at Gabe, who has walked around his monitor and is yelling at the guy "Look at me! Look at me!" Turns out Gabe recognized him and was hoping to calm him down, but once you've rushed the stage and been tackled, it's hard to reenter negotiations as equals. I told the security guys to haul him off, which they did by his belt, pant legs, and ears. Frankly, the whole thing took far less to happen than it did to read - it was so crazy fast.
Today, we attend some meetings and tomorrow, we head back to Middle America so we can vote on Tuesday. As an event, TheCall Cali is in the box. As a value and a movement, it's just begun.