WASHINGTON (CNS) — Nick Hall hopes to see 1 million Americans of all faiths come together around Jesus on the National Mall in Washington July 16.
Hall is founder of a student-led evangelism movement called PULSE, based in Minneapolis, and the organizer of “Together 2016,” as the event is called.
“We are wanting to build bridges and relationships between religions because there are a lot of misunderstandings,” he told Catholic News Service. “Although we will not agree on everything, there are things that we can come together on and hopefully Jesus is one of them.
Through social media, PULSE has shared a video of Pope Francis inviting people to attend “Together 2016.” The pope’s message of invitation, came out of a two-hour meeting Hall, a Protestant, had with the pope June 9. Hall told CNS he spoke to the pope about the event and spent time in prayer with him.
In the video, the pope talks about “restlessness and how a lot of us are struggling with searching for him (God) in different things and how Jesus is the answer for that restlessness,” Hall said.
He feels the pope’s words are in line with words Hall loves from St. Augustine: “Our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
“That Pope Francis would choose to speak (about) this historic day is a testament to the urgency and the need for followers of Jesus to unite in prayer for our nation and our world,” Hall said in a statement issued shortly after the video was released. “We are humbled and honored by his involvement and are eager to share his invitation to ‘Together 2016.'”
“Together 2016” will last from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (EDT). The event will have 40 or more speakers, including Francis Chan, Josh Brewer and Hall, as well as recording artists, authors and leaders from different faith backgrounds. A few of the recording artists to perform will be Matt Maher, Hillsong United and Lauren Daigle. There also will be opportunities for worship.
Before and during the week of the event, there will be more than 8,000 service opportunities around the Washington metro area. To date, more than 1,000 U.S. churches have pledged attendance.
PULSE began 10 years ago and grew out of student-led prayer groups, training and outreach events on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo, where Hall was a student. He told CNS that there were two foundational statements for the organization: “We want to put Christ at the pulse of a generation” and “We want to awaken culture to the reality of Jesus.”
That also is the underlying message of “Together 2016,” he added.
He said he sees God’s hand in planning the event and helping the organizers overcome difficulties.
“God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called,” Hall told CNS. “It has really grown our faith … just in really seeing that nothing is impossible with him.”
Faith is something that has always been important to Hall’s family. From a young age, Hall asked questions and wanted to know more about God. His whole family went to different churches because his dad is Catholic and his mom is Presbyterian.
Hall hopes that people at the event feel welcomed and loved and that it sparks conversation about who Jesus is.
“We felt that it was time for a family gathering. God’s family is a big family and Jesus invites everyone to come and there is room at the table,” he said. “We should thank God that the only people in the family aren’t people who worship like us or look like us because heaven would then be really boring.”