Together 2016 Draws Thousands to National Mall; Heat Ends Event Early

Thousands gather for Together 2016 on Washington's National Mall.
Thousands of young people join in unity on National Mall in Washington, D.C., Saturday for Together 2016. (Facebook)

Thousands came to Together 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Saturday to celebrate that "Jesus changes everything." Emergency Services shut down the event early, however, after medical personnel became overwhelmed with the number of people--more than 400--who were overcome by extreme heat.

Nick Hall of PULSE, which planned the event, tweeted: "This event has never been about coming to the Mall. It's about sending a generation out from the mall to share Jesus."

Hall shared a video on Facebook saying that they were "completely exhausted" but "excited at all that God did."

As for shutting down early, he said they wanted to continue but "just felt like the right thing to do was to show respect and try to listen." He also pointed out that it wasn't a coincidence that the event ended early, encouraging attendees to be witnesses for Christ.

"There might be somebody that needs Jesus that you're supposed to go talk to. ...  God is the one that leaves the 99 to go after the one," he said.

The event targeted millennials and drew many well-known speakers, from Pope Francis who appeared via video to apologist Ravi Zacharias to singer Michael W. Smith.

"I see people as far as my eye can see," hip-hop artist Lecrae tweeted. "I see people who should be referred to as brothers and sisters...Let's not be a religious community that walks by people who are struggling and hurting. If we're not a healing salve, we contribute to the pain."

Hall is already looking to the future.

"People are asking for Together events across the country and around the world," he said.

Rather than look at Together 2016 as a single-day event, Hall encouraged people to get the Together app, download the "7 Days With Jesus" reading plan and start prayer groups as they reset their lives with Jesus.

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