While True Love Waits was celebrating its 10th Birthday in Nashville, its founder Dr. Richard Ross was in Dallas promoting pre-marital sexual abstinence to a crowd of 13,000-14,000 at the fourth STAND (Students Taking A New Direction) Rally at the Reunion Arena on June 26.
Ross was among many prominent figures that spoke at the free event. Speakers included Christian music artist Rebecca St. James, actor Stephen Baldwin, and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas.
STAND similar to partnering organizations such as True Love Waits, teaches young people to remain sexually abstinent before marriage.
Event organizers were thankful for the successful turnout and the 65 people who accepted Christ during the event.
"I think that God really blessed us with as much as we could possibly expect," Executive Director of STAND Terry Kemple told Christian Post.
Many of the rally's participants also attended a Southern Baptist Convention's Youth Evangelism Conference in the Arena the previous day.
The rally encouraged young people to sign pledge cards and to commit themselves to sexual purity. Even people who were not virgins could sign the cards and recommit themselves to God under His forgiveness.
Signers of the pledge cards were also making a commitment to their future spouses, according to Ross.
"In essence, they are saying to each other, 'Before I met you I became faithful to you and this card that I'm handing you is symbolic of that,' " said Ross.
Kemple reported that 2,250 people made pledges to be sexually abstinent until marriage. The pledge cards will be sent to Athens, Greece, to be included in True Love Waits' international display at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Although a large part of the rally was aimed at mobilizing youth in making the commitment of leading sexually pure lives, that is not all the campaign intends to do.
One of STAND's ultimate goal, said Kemple, is to "help empower the people in the community so that these students can be plugged in with organizations and churches that can disciple them in the commitment they made."