SBTS alum leads crusade in Louisville-area town

Communications Staff — October 12, 2006

For three years David Moerschel anticipated a citywide crusade in Taylorsville, Ky.

But he anticipated neither how widespread nor how deep the impact from the crusade would be.

As a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Moerschel began attending Elk Creek Baptist Church in Taylorsville in August of 2003. From the start of his involvement at the church, Moerschel had the idea of holding an area-wide evangelistic crusade involving churches from several denominations. He began working on the crusade, but the plans didn’t materialize initially.

Then in 2005 Moerschel was trained in crusade evangelism by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and felt God telling him it was time to try again with a Taylorsville crusade. This time the result was very different.

More than 37 churches partnered to organize an evangelistic effort that culminated Sept. 29-Oct. 1 with hundreds gathering for the Impact Crusade at Spencer County High School. It was the largest religious gathering in Taylorsville history, Moerschel said.

“From the time I started attending that church I just could see a crusade in that area,” Moerschel, who preached at the crusade, said. “There is a lot of growth going on in Taylorsville and a lot of change.”

Moerschel graduated from Southern in May 2006 and is now pursuing vocational evangelism through his own association, The David Moerschel Evangelistic Association, which formed in late 2005 and is based out of Atlanta. His association took the lead in crusade organization and planning. Several other former and current Southern students worked with Moerschel on the event.

Patterning the crusade after Billy Graham crusades, Moerschel garnered support from Taylorsville pastors, assembled a crusade executive committee made up of local leaders, organized teams to carry out different ministries related to the crusade and opened a local crusade office. A kickoff rally in March attended by more than 100 people “marked the beginning of the preparation process for the crusade,” Moerschel said.

During the months following the kickoff rally, local churches conducted Christian life and witness training and launched an initiative known as Operation Andrew, in which Christians pray for and develop relationships with non-Christians, eventually inviting them to the crusade.

Operation Andrew produced results in some churches long before the crusade arrived, Moerschel said.

“We had one local church pastor who just saw tremendous results from Operation Andrew,” he said. “He said the week after they implemented Operation Andrew they started seeing people get saved or come back to church or reconcile to the church. He just saw tremendous results from using this. It’s really nothing about the program. It’s all about Christians praying for and caring about other people.”

When the crusade arrived, the number of people responding to the Gospel was not as large as Moerschel hoped, but some said the event caused them to recommit themselves to sharing the Gospel with lost friends and neighbors.

One woman told Moerschel the crusade “caused her to get out her old evangelism books, to write letters to her friends and write emails and to reach out to them again for evangelism purposes,” he said. “It reignited her evangelistic zeal. If we can do that, we’ve done a lot. If we can raise up hundreds of evangelists in an area, it’s going to have a continual effect.”

One pastor said he had been praying for an event like the Impact Crusade for 15 years, Moerschel said.

On the last night of the crusade Moerschel challenged attendees to continue sharing the message of Jesus with others after the official activities ended.

“I really charged the people after the last service and said, ‘The crusade services are over, but the crusade doesn’t have to be over if you’ll continue to care for those around you, continue to pray for them, continue to invite them and bring them to your churches and if you’ll continue to work in a spirit of cooperation,’” he said.

“I really encouraged them to carry on and let this be the start of something rather than the end of something.”

Currently Moerschel is exploring crusades in several other areas, including sites in Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia and Bolivia.

“We basically have more doors opening up than we have time, money or personnel to explore,” he said.

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