What began as a divine calling will soon become a reality for local youth pastor Ian Allen.
Ian said he’s felt called for some time to offer a special gathering for young people in the area. After becoming the youth pastor of Cassidy United Methodist Church last June, his dream began to take shape with the support of his pastor, Tom Hancock.
While there are many great conferences and events for young people in other cities, Ian wants to bring such an event to the Tri-Cities area.
“We’ve never really had anything super-dynamic in the area that is in a neutral location that was free (to attend). Not everybody can afford $100 to go to hear speakers and music that is going to influence their lives,” Ian explained.
So, on March 14 at the Kingsport Farmers Market, at least 1,000 young people will be able to attend the LITE (Living In Truth Everyday) Youth Rally.
According to Ian, the purpose of the event is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition, the event will spotlight the opioid epidemic to increase public awareness and offer support to those affected by it. “We will have a message, worship, and a time to specifically discuss opioid addiction,” Ian said.
Local churches that provide recovery programs, as well as other nonprofit organizations that deal with opioid addiction, will be on hand to offer support.
Ian says he’s concerned about the growing opioid crisis in Northeast Tennessee.
“This is an ongoing epidemic that is breaking our community, and the best way to approach it is to make people aware of it. I don’t think people understand, and that breaks my heart,” said Ian, who shares that the issue hit close to home for him when a loved one became addicted to opioid drugs. “It was really hard for me to deal with,” he shared.
“It’s not just something that is going on with a few select people; it’s everywhere,” he stressed.
In addition to serving as youth pastor, Ian is the manager of East Tennessee Cheer in Kingsport. He graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 2015 and is currently studying at Liberty University where he will earn a degree in Pastoral Leadership.
Most of all, his heart’s desire is to introduce people to Jesus and help those who struggle with issues such as drug addiction, anxiety and depression. “I want to see chains break and for people to realize that they don’t have to fight their battle alone because God is there for them,” he said.
The LITE Youth Rally will be held on Saturday, March 14, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Kingsport Farmers Market, located at 308 Clinchfield St., in downtown Kingsport.
The event promises to be a lively one, according to Ian. Entertainment will be provided by popular Christian hip hop music artist, GAWVI.
“It will be loud,” Ian laughed. “We just want kids to come and have fun; worshipping with other youth.”
The event is for sixth graders through young adults; parents are welcome. Volunteers are needed, as are donations of water bottles to be given out at the rally. Donations are also needed to help cover the cost of the rally.
There is no charge to attend, but tickets must be reserved online at www.liteyouthworship.com. Click on RSVP to register.
To learn more, call Cassidy United Methodist Church at (423) 323-8142.