God Uses Anthem City

Anthem CityLast month I told you about Hannah, one of the staff members we trained in public speaking at Comm Lab last April. As the lead singer of Cru’s band Anthem City, Hannah shared her story of how God met her in a time of deep grief. She then offered audience members an opportunity to place their trust in Jesus Christ.

I’ve been encouraged to hear how God used Anthem City (and especially Hannah’s story) during their Christmas tour. Here are some excerpts from an email they just received about their concert at Pendleton Correctional Facility.

I wanted to let you know at least some of the impact of the Anthem City Concert at PCF that I had personally heard about from some of the inmates.

Raymond – an inmate (part of the Church Inside – Kairos community) said that … it was the best concert he had heard at the prison. As well as the excitement and energy, the witness from the lead singer … brought tears to the eyes of many of the hardened inmates as they listened to her story.

The week after the concert there was a baptism for those who had given their lives to Christ and Kairos had a reunion immediately after the baptism which I attended. This is where Raymond told me about the wonderful concert and the fact that at least 3 of the people who had been baptized … had made the decision as a direct consequence of attending the concert. Praise God!

As if that was not enough I also talked to one of the leaders of the Church Inside (Chris) who had been wrestling with a decision. He had been approached by other Church leaders and asked to take on the role of Pastor. He was resistant to the call and struggling. He also attended the concert and in his words “the love of God was so obvious in the girl singing at the front”. He ended up being one of those crying (not understanding why), surrendering his resistance, and agreeing to take on the role of Pastor. …

Please let the group know that the effect that they have on those Inside is huge and that through them souls are brought to God and the Church Inside grows and becomes stronger.

Thank you so much for partnering with me in ministry! You make it possible for me to organize communication training events and resources like Comm Lab, which help people like Hannah become more effective in sharing the good news of Christ!

Tour Statistics

  • Total Attendance: 3125
  • Number of concerts: 22
  • Indicated salvation decisions: 238
  • Indicated recommitment decisions: 361
  • Total indicated decisions: 599

Please Pray…

  • That God will continue to work in the hearts of those who heard Anthem City
  • For me as I lead preparations for Comm Lab 2018

Christmas Hope

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new a glorious morn.

I listened to Hannah, the lead singer of our band Anthem City, recount how God met her during a time of deep grief when she desperately needed the hope “O Holy Night” proclaims. She told how God used a little girl to show her that He is intent on pursuing us and bringing us peace in the midst of difficulties. Her openness and genuine emotion touched my heart as she spoke.

Hannah was trained as a communicator at our Comm Lab last spring. She will proclaim the hope of Jesus in prisons, homeless shelters, teen centers and elsewhere as Anthem City presents their Christmas Experience concert to thousands in the coming weeks. I’m confident that God will use her story to touch many of those hearts and draw them to Himself.

Our world today is pining because of sin and error, and weary souls are all around—next door, across town, or on the other side of the world. They need to experience the worth and the thrill of hope that Jesus alone brings.

In 2018 we have the opportunity to engage hearts around the world with this message. Through communication training and other creative tools, we are equipping many more people like Hannah to share Christ’s hope with those who desperately need to hear.

Because of your partnership with me as I coordinate communication training events and tools like Comm Lab, many other missionaries and volunteers like Hannah will be equipped to share the hope of Jesus. Thank you for your part in reaching people around the world with the hope of the gospel!

Looking Back and Looking Forward

calendarI sat at a restaurant Tuesday enjoying breakfast with my leaders and fellow project managers. We gathered to celebrate what God has done this semester, and I smiled as I listened to my friends tell stories of how they had seen God work.

  • One told about prison inmates coming to faith in Jesus through concerts by Anthem City, our new Christmas band.
  • Another explained how she created a website filled with resources to help Cru missionaries transition back to the U.S. after serving overseas.
  • One of our graphic designers announced that the book he wrote and designed has been sent to the publisher; High Ground is a mentoring guide to help free people caught in porn addiction.
  • I praised the great work my Emcee Training team did equipping 15 staff and student emcees to shepherd audiences toward Jesus.
  • Someone else reminded us of all the people who heard the gospel through our bands that toured Australia and the Republic of Georgia.

As I listened to these stories and at least half a dozen others, I sensed the hand of God directing our small team. I was encouraged to see how He is using our creative endeavors to accomplish His mission to win people to Christ, build them in their faith, and send them out equipped to reach others.

God is already providing significant ministry opportunities for me for the start of 2017:

  • Editing and promoting another set of 10 Rock Your Meeting videos for our growing library of free online lessons at rockyourmeeting.org or cru.org/rockyourmeeting
  • Doing research and analysis for our team that is updating a Cru outreach strategy called Freshman Survival Kits
  • Serving on the event team for three one-week Big Break conferences in Panama City Beach, FL (March 4-25) where college students will learn through experience how to share Christ
  • Coaching and running sound and video at Comm Lab, our annual communication training conference, which will be held April 3-7 in Orlando, FL

As I look forward to a new year with so many exciting opportunities, please join me in praying for continued sensitivity to God’s leading, both for me personally and for everyone on our creative team.

Band Sees God Work Despite Obstacles

On Sept 4, I found an email in my inbox titled “Urgent prayer needed.” It was from Teresa, the lead singer and speaker of Stone, our band touring in Australia. She wrote:

“I woke up this morning with barely any voice and I’m struggling to try and warm it up for the two back-to-back shows we have this morning.

“Please pray for God to intervene and give me what I need to do these shows so we can share the gospel with these kids.”

The next day she sent this email:

“Thanks for those of you who prayed for my voice. God totally came through and even though I was totally hoarse before the shows yesterday, when I opened my mouth to sing, a very strong voice came out!! … I firmly believe that God stepped in and gave me what I needed and I am so grateful to him for that. Praise Him!!“

StoneThis wasn’t the only obstacle Stone faced while bringing the message of Christ to Australian high school students.

  • The van they were supposed to use broke down and they had to arrange for other transportation.
  • Four concerts at one school were cancelled after the host died suddenly a few days before. (The band asked people to pray that God would use his death to draw students and teachers to himself in a way that their concerts never could have.)
  • Right before one concert, part of the guitarist’s equipment malfunctioned. As he figured out a work-around, the band prayed for God to show His power in spite of the difficulty … and 17 of the 35 kids in attendance trusted Christ!

Teresa said that she and the other members of Stone were amazed and humbled at the way God used them in spite of the obstacles they faced. They estimated that during the three-week tour they shared the gospel with over 2,400 students and about 245 indicated decisions to place their faith in Christ!

Prayer Requests

For the Australia Tour Follow-up

  • for spiritual growth for the 245 students who indicated decisions to trust Christ during Stone’s concerts
  • for Australian Cru staff as they work with school chaplains and religion teachers to follow up with these students.

For the Worship Arts Weekend

The Worship Arts Weekend (Sept. 23-35) is designed for worship leaders and teams. Until now we have hosted only Cru students, but this time we have also opened it up to church teams. Please pray…

  • that those who attend will grow in their musical skills, their love for Jesus and their understanding of worship.
  • for wisdom for me and for the other Cru staff who will coach, teach, and serve behind-the-scenes

Thank you so much for praying!

Bands Heading Overseas

Our Artist Team uses live music and comedy to communicate the gospel message. The team also provides worship leaders for various Cru conferences and runs the Worship Arts Weekend training conference for Cru students every spring and fall.

StoneAnother major focus for the Artist Team is to provide a resource for Cru’s various international ministries. Two bands are heading overseas in the coming weeks.

The band Stone will tour Australia from August 18 to September 8. Amazingly, they will perform outreach concerts directly in high schools. This is possible because Australia has a state church, so high schools are actually required to conduct religious education! However, the government is being pressured to remove this religious education component. As this door is quickly closing, the Australian staff have invited Stone to come take advantage of the opportunity to share Christ while it still exists.

The second band leaves in September to spend three weeks in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, located between Russia and Turkey. Georgian staff members are hoping to start their own music ministry, so they will receive training from our team during the first half of the trip. During the second half, our band will perform outreach concerts on college campuses to share the gospel with college students.

republicofgeorgiaPrayer Requests

Please pray for the members of these two bands.

  • Safe travel both during the long flights and in country
  • Clear communication of the gospel during concerts and one-to-one conversations
  • That God would move in hearts so that many students would trust Christ
  • Effective training of the Georgian staff members to equip them to start their own music ministry
  • Dependence on the Holy Spirit for band members as they face the stresses of cross-cultural ministry

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