University students went into Ed Landreth Auditorium late Tuesday evening as smoke filled the air and lights slowly dimmed.
A full house was on hand for After Dark, an event featuring a free concert by Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, followed by a Christian message delivered by speaker Joe White.
According to the After Dark website, the program aimed to “expose college students to the person of Jesus, so they can decide for themselves if they feel like He is in any way relevant to their lives today.”
“The purpose is to bring students together and have them hear an awesome message by Joe White,” Graham McMillan, the university's After Dark director, said. “We’re excited to see what it does and excited to see the fruit that comes from it.”
Students in attendance watched as a large wooden cross was constructed on stage to symbolize White’s message of Jesus Christ dying on the cross to atone for the transgressions of humanity.
Each student was encouraged to write down something they struggle with on a small note card, which would then be nailed to the cross to emphasize White’s message of forgiveness in the Christian faith.
“To see people from all over campus, from various fraternities and sororities, panhellinic and non-panhellenic, come together in one place to worship our God was incredible,” Will Peters, a sophomore religion major, said.
This was not the first time After Dark has come to the university's campus in hopes of spreading a Christian message to the student body. The program last visited campus in 2009.
Senior economics major Parker Fleming said he remembers the first time After Dark came, and he also said he believes the program has progressed over the years by becoming more effective in following up on student involvement in campus ministries.
“I think this message was not a one-and-done kind of thing,” Fleming said. “This is definitely something that should change people’s life, and I think that we did a good job of investing in it.”
This is the second large Christian event to come to Ed Landreth Auditorium in the past week, following last week's Christian illusionist show "Maze." McMillan said he was excited about the prospect of spreading the Christian gospel to the student body of TCU.
“I think that proclaiming the Gospel is an incredible thing, and if we can present it to the students in different ways, we’re excited,” he said. “We want to see a radical change on this campus in the name of Jesus Christ.”