One of my favorite parts of the Keynote Summer Project is coaching students in communication skills and watching them grow as a result. As we ask them to do something many consider scary—speaking in front of a group of people—God uses it to help them grow not only in their speaking abilities but in their poise, their confidence, and even in their faith.
I think of Allie, a sweet girl in Swerve, the band I coached. When communication drills started, she admitted that she hated public speaking — it made her so nervous she felt sick to her stomach. During drills the next week, she shared a wonderful story of how God met her in the midst of loneliness and depression. We (the staff members involved with the team) felt God leading us to ask her to share it during concerts. We wondered, would she accept, or would she be too fearful?
No only did she accept, but she was excited about telling people her story combined with a gospel presentation! I had the privilege of helping her edit her talk, and I saw firsthand how her fears had been overcome by a desire to tell others how they could find the acceptance and forgiveness she had found in Jesus.
Swerve’s first concert was at an at-risk youth home for about 55 students. Here’s the story from keyboardist/vocalist Lauren.
Initially it was somewhat discouraging because it didn’t seem like they had much interest in the concert or message. It was difficult to keep spirits up without much reaction from the audience. However at the end of the concert the students were so appreciative and we found that 12 of them made a decision for Christ. An encouraging comment card from Tom said that the concert “just made me think about how great it is to be alive.” Our host informed us that Tom came from a home where he was unloved and was hard to reach since being on the campus. Tom has been struggling with depression problems and he expressed how encouraging it was to hear the music and Allie and Nate’s stories. This concert taught us that even though our audience doesn’t seem to be engaged it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit isn’t working.
More than 1 in 5 people indicated decisions for Christ, and God specifically used Allie in that process! I’m so proud of her for stepping out in faith!
Please pray for God to continue using Swerve and the other four student bands during their tours. Thank you so much for your partnership in God’s work!