En Fuego organizers rally support for annual ministryBy Emily Beckett Published 4:59pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Preparations and fundraising efforts for one of Chilton County’s largest evangelistic events are underway, but more community support is needed to bring it to fruition.
Organizers of En Fuego, an annual outdoor music ministry event set for Aug. 24, talked to residents Wednesday about volunteer and sponsorship opportunities during an awareness luncheon at First Baptist of Clanton.
Jeff Herron, youth minister at Clanton First United Methodist Church, shared his experiences from past En Fuego events and encouraged residents to get involved with the outreach aimed at bringing people from every denomination and background together for a worship encounter with Jesus Christ.
“It’s not a Methodist thing, it’s not a Baptist thing … let’s go ahead and break that barrier,” Herron said. “It’s about a kingdom—the kingdom of God.”
Sometimes referred to as “The Christian Woodstock of This Generation,” co-founders Johnny Giles and Travis Crim started En Fuego in 1997 with just 300 people in attendance. Since then, En Fuego has grown to nearly 20,000 people congregating on a hillside in Verbena every year to hear Christian music and messages from speakers.
Between 2007 to 2012, records indicate counselors prayed with more than 890 people at En Fuego.
According to “decision forms” people filled out, 319 salvations, 410 recommitments and 225 other decisions were made during the event in those five years.
“Our goal is to reach as many people for Christ as possible,” Giles said. “This gives us an opportunity to share the gospel with a large number of people.”
Jeremy Camp is this year’s headliner. Other performers include Fireflight, Hawk Nelson, Tedashii, Citizen Way, Haley Morgan Smith and Matt Littlejohn Band.
Scott Dawson will return as a guest speaker, and Crim will emcee.
Admission to En Fuego is free, and all ages are welcome.
Giles said volunteers are still needed to help before, during and after the event in August.
Areas of volunteering include concessions, grounds crew, parking, merchandising, stage setup/teardown, counseling, stage crew and anywhere needed.
“Every year for the last several years, we’ve had about 400 volunteers,” Giles said. “We have 400 volunteers already, but believe it or not, that’s not enough. There’s a place for everyone.”
Giles and Herron expressed a great need for more counselors, who will be available to pray with and talk to people making decisions at the event.
Other needs organizers mentioned are prayer, publicity and financial support.
Anyone interested in volunteering can call (205) 516-0467 or sign up at EnFuegoInfo.com.
Workdays to prepare the event site will be Aug. 17 and Aug. 22–24. The process of tearing down and cleaning the site will be Aug. 25–27.
The 17th En Fuego will be Saturday, Aug. 24, from 2–9:30 p.m. in Verbena.
Those traveling from Birmingham should take Interstate 65 South to Exit 205, go south on U.S. Highway 31 about 7.7 miles, turn left on County Road 23, go three miles and the En Fuego site will be on the left.
Those traveling from Montgomery should take Interstate 65 North to Exit 186, go north on U.S. Highway 31 about 13 miles, turn right on County Road 23, go three miles and the site will be on the left.
For more information, go to EnFuegoInfo.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We want En Fuego to be a tool for the churches in Alabama,” Giles said. “We have had the opportunity to see thousands of folks on a hillside worship God Almighty together under the stars and sun, lots of sun.”