According to the See You at the Pole website, www.syatp.com, "Within the first few years, the movement began to spread to other nations through missionaries from the U.S. Now each year, more than 3 million students from all the world participate in See You at the Pole. Students in more than 20 countries take part. In places like Canada, Korea, Japan, Turkey and the Ivory Coast, students are responding to God and taking seriously the challenge to pray."
Jonathan Brantley, student ministry pastor for Cartersville First Baptist Church, said the local growth of See You at the Pole was reflective of Christian youth's impact on other students and on the community as a whole.
"I think [See You at the Pole] says a few things. One, obviously the message of Jesus Christ is hope and a lot of people could use hope right now ... And I think it helps believers realize that we might disagree on some small things but we can come together under the same umbrella of Jesus Christ, and when students are doing it, it shows anyone can do it," Brantley said. "If the students can get together and break denominational lines, they can break racial lines, they can break socioeconomic lines. Then, as adults, we should be able to do it because it's not hard, it's something civil that can be done."
Brantley said while some schools maintained their average number of students at See You at the Pole, other schools saw growth. He attributed any lack of growth to the fog and an overturned tractor-trailer in the Cass area.
On Wednesday evening, students and the community gathered at the Clarence Brown Conference Center for a See You at the Pole Rally hosted by the Bartow Baptist Association.
"[The See You at the Pole Rally] is just helping students be aware of the number of the people and their peers in Bartow County who need that relationship with Jesus Christ," Brantley said.
The rally included presentations and fellowship for students and the community with an emphasis on showing how students can share their faith with others, for example, providing students with copies of "The Life Book."
"[The Life Book] is a really good 4-inch by about 4-inch book featuring the book of John and kind of explains the creation of Christ," Brantley said. "It also gives some great questions, like 'Are you struggling with depression? Are you struggling with some different things?' and here are some things you can do.
"So, [The Gideons International] sent us about 12,000 copies of [The Life Book] free of charge to put the tools in our students' hands that in turn they will have the tools to hopefully offer some hope and light to their peers."