Remembering Explo’ 72 in Cotton Bowl


By Steve Rees –

Looking back at 2022, one of the highlights was seeing people gather in the Cotton Bowl to observe the 50th anniversary of Explo’ 72, the same place evangelists Billy Graham and Bill Bright rallied 70,000 people during the Jesus People Movement.

Led by a man equally passionate about the gospel, Nick Hall, founder of the ministry Pulse, brought Together `22 to Dallas in June.

As a result of Explo `72, 10,000 people gave their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The enthusiastic response to gospel presentations by Graham and Bright was soon published on the cover of Life Magazine with the headline, “The Great Jesus Rally in Dallas.”

Together ’22 was amazing and our work has only just begun,” Hall says, looking back on the summer event.

God placed some fuel inside us and we can’t wait to see how it continues to come alive in our communities,” Hall says, looking forward to 2023.

Together `22 duplicated the best of Explo `72 – a presentation of the gospel, equipping the saints, and serving people – for two days with scores of speakers and artists including Tony Evans, Francis Chan, LaCrae, Chris Tomlin and Dallas Jenkins.

With people from all 50 states gathered in Dallas, Hall hopes they continue the momentum into the new year, sharing the gospel with family members and neighbors around the world.

More than we need an event, we need an encounter with the Most High God,” Hall stated in a Facebook post days before the gathering, asking supporters to pray for tens of thousands who attended Together `22.

With other leaders, Hall believes the nation desperately needs revival and that Together `22 continues to be part of God’s plan for spiritual awakening from coast to coast.

The ministry he leads, Pulse, drew hundreds of thousands to the National Mall in 2016 for an event later called Together.

For Hall and other Together `22 leaders, Explo `72 holds personal memories. Hall’s father came to faith in Jesus after students on his college campus attended Explo `72. They passionately shared the gospel on campus after bold challenges from Bright and Graham.

Others shared similar stories, and all hope the same fervor spreads from Together `22 – further fanning the flames of revival.

Tens of thousands of people across America prayed for Together`22 and many churches in the Dallas Metroplex united in support, says Jeff Anderson, a coordinator for the event.

Anderson’s father was at Explo `72. As a result of his response to the gospel, three generations of the Anderson family now know Jesus.

Those who come are equipped to it back home, to work and school, beginning a gospel movement where they are,” says Anderson.

While Hall and Anderson prayed for thousands of young people – Together `22 drew mostly high school and college students – a few generations beyond joined, too.

They will then go forward with the good news of the gospel where they are in life,” Hall says.

At a Juneteenth celebration in Dallas on Saturday before Together `22, Hall prayed at Cotton Bowl Stadium, where he welcomed people to the new Jesus event.

Preceding the opening of Together `22 on Friday night, African- and Hispanic- American leaders representing Gen Z and Millennials prayed together, with 24/7 intercession beginning in the morning.

The popular series, The Chosen, impacted Gen Z so dramatically that producer Dallas Jenkins surprised Together `22 with a documentary.

After worship, inspirational messages and encouragement, Together `22 spread throughout the Dallas Metroplex sharing the gospel and performing service projects.

Fourteen equipping seminars, workshops and breakouts prepared people to share the gospel – like the focus of Explo `72 five decades ago.

Anderson asked for prayer warriors to uphold people who heard and responded to a clear gospel presentation inside Cotton Bowl Stadium and around the world as Together `22 was live streamed.

There were other scheduled events at Cotton Bowl Stadium.

We believe that God, in a very supernatural way, is going to be drawing people to the Lord Jesus. They will come and hear God by His Spirit,” Anderson says.

In his lifetime, Graham commented that the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and drives it supernaturally into hearts.

We’re trusting that will happen to those who are invited to come to the Saturday night event and the other equipping sessions,” Anderson says.

Prayers of protection and safety for staff, speakers, artists and travelers, as well as the weather are appreciated.

Two years after Explo `72 in Dallas, Bright traveled to Seoul, South Korea where he proclaimed the gospel during Explo `74.

Dai Sup Han, who was born in Seoul, found a copy of the Life magazine featuring the Jesus People Movement on its cover 10 years ago.

I didn’t know there was an Explo `72,” says Han, who provides leadership to the Billion Soul Harvest in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Han learned that the founder of Billion Soul Harvest, Dr. James Hwang, was saved during Bright’s preaching in Seoul. “Immediately he (Dr. Hwang) began to lead people to Christ, discipling them with little training,” Han says.

Hwang, also from Seoul, now lives in Colorado Springs where he led South Korean intercessors to pastors and churches to pray for revival.

Han attended another missions event, The Send, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, noting the friendships between Together `22’s Hall and Youth With A Mission’s (YWAM) Andy Byrd.

God is definitely up to something in 2022,” says Han, adding that Billion Soul Harvest leaders were praying for Together `22 as they did for The Send.

In July, Billion Soul Harvest hosted a global summit in Colorado Springs for up to 2,000 participants, including national and global missions and prayer leaders, along with 100 intercessors from Korea, as well as Christians throughout Colorado and across America.