“Hope precedes every great breakthrough.”
That’s the message that Dean Curry, pastor of Tacoma’s Life Center Church, will impart to thousands of attendees Sunday at a free interdenominational celebration at Cheney Stadium.
“Hope is what gets you up in the morning. Hope is what gets you to apply for that job. Hope is like an engine in a community,” Curry said.
Along with words from Curry and former pro football player Eric Boles, Sunday’s event includes entertainment. Grammy award-winning pop duo for King & Country will perform along with R&B and gospel pair Dawkins & Dawkins. Both Christian groups are pairs of brothers.
“I know this community needs help because I’ve lived here my whole life,” said Curry, a Tacoma native. He cited military suicides, gangs, racial tension, abortion, divorce rates and substance abuse as some of the problems facing the area.
“When I find out that a 13-year-old girl jumped off a bridge, I think we’ve got to do something about this,” Curry said.
Curry stressed that though Life Center is the organizer of the event, it involves a lot more than the Tacoma megachurch. About 35 churches and nonprofits including Federal Way’s World Vision are involved. Churches include Lutheran, Presbyterian, Foursquare, Baptist, Anglican, Episcopalian and others.
Curry, whose church attracts about 6,500 to its services every weekend, said the event is for all faiths. Or no faiths.
“It’s for Buddhists, Muslims,” Curry said. “It’s for atheists and agnostics. I’m a Jesus guy, but you don’t have to be religious to attend this.”
Curry calls the event a hyper local version of a Billy Graham crusade. “So, when it’s all over, you still have these 35 partner churches and nonprofits (in the area).”
Curry wants to fill the 7,400-plus seats of Cheney Stadium. “There’s something inspirational that happens at these large public events. They have substance,” he said.
Curry calls his part of the program “persuasive,” but there will be no hard selling of Christianity. “We don’t thrust that on anybody,” he said. Instead, attendees will be inspired.
“At the very least they will walk out with encouragement,” Curry said. “We feel like this can be a life-saver.”
Curry said 600 response workers will be at the event to provide referrals. Those referrals include marriage coaches, resources for substance abuse and others. Life Center alone has about 100 marriage “coaches,” as well support for alcohol abuse and drug addiction, he said.
Curry said he sees congregants at his church with abuse problems. Sunday’s event will give hope to even those who feel there is no hope, he said. “They don’t think they can ever be sober,” Curry said of some addicts.
Australian-American brothers Luke and Joel Smallbone make up For King & Country, while brothers Anson and Eric are Dawkins & Dawkins.
Earlier this year For King & Country won Grammies for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for a collaborative effort with Lecrae.
Boles will speak on rebuilding his life after leaving the NFL. He played with the New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers. He is currently president of The Game Changers Inc., a training and development company.
“He’s put together a better life as a businessman than he ever had as a football player,” Curry said of Boles.
Hope 253 is funded by what Curry called “friends.” There will be offerings taken, but the money will go to buying backpacks and school supplies for local children.
HOPE 253 FESTIVAL
When: 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Sunday (doors at 4:30 p.m.).
Where: Cheney Stadium, Tacoma.
Admission and parking: Free.
Translated: In Spanish by headset. Materials will be available in Spanish.
Food and beverage: For sale by stadium vendors.