I moved to Augusta in 2008 to cover religion for the Chronicle. I didn't know a soul this far South at the time, but the area is quickly becoming home. Before then, I covered the cop beat and crime while working at a newspaper in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I got my start in Virginia writing features for a community weekly while in college.
Posted January 16, 2009 01:14 pm - Updated February 11, 2009 02:32 pm

Winter Jam records 1,500 text messaged 'Decisions for Christ'


The numbers are in. Looks like 6,336 people came through the doors at Winter Jam.

Some 1,500 of those sent a text message to Tony Nolan last night, which may sound like no big thing, except each of those texts was sent from a kid or teen who just prayed to become a Christian.


Between performances from artists like tobyMac, Brandon Heath and Hawk Nelson, Tony Nolan, the tour's pastor, issued an altar call.


 Backstage before the show, he recognized that that some pastors would be skeptical of his relatively high-tech methods.


 “They think you’ve got to stand up and shake the pastor’s hand,” he said. “I tell them, ‘I’m over here in the 21st century and I’m having a hard time heading you over in caveman land.’” 

Until the tour ends in March, you can follow along as the Winter Jam site tracks the number of "decisions for Christ" he receives by text. As far as the concert goes, I saw just a few acts (something about getting back to the office to make deadline). After filing my story, I did go back to watch tobyMac wrap up the night with a performance filled not just with his traditional acrobatics and break dancing, but trampolines.

He wore a glitter bomber jacket and stage dived into the crowd, where of course his body guards waited to catch him. This is, after all, a concert that attracts a fare number of kids.

Were you there? What was the highlight of Winter Jam for you?