Singing the Gospel
Jan 9, 2020 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
Music can open surprising doors for the gospel.
Terry English is one of JV’s gifted ministry entrepreneurs. Ten years ago he developed our Fusion ministry with a goal to see churches use rock/gospel choirs as a means to reach young people. Now, there are 38 Fusion choirs in local churches across nine countries, impacting over 1,400 young people—most of whom had no previous contact with believers.
Several years later, as he was praying for Ostrava—the third-largest metropolitan area of the Czech Republic, where he lives—Terry wondered if the same concept could be applied to reaching adults in his city. In spite of the fact that 330,000 people live there, only 800 are part of an evangelical church. Yet, even non-believers love to sing, and Christmas is a natural time to share the good news.
As a bold experiment, Terry launched a project called “Ostrava Sings the Gospel,” and invited people to join a city-wide Christmas choir. Sign-ups were through word of mouth and Facebook, and the group practiced for 5 weeks before performing a concert of rousing gospel music in the heart of the city.
The first year, the choir numbered 68, and over 1,000 tickets were sold for the two concerts. The next year, the choir grew to 120, and another concert was added to meet the demand. Terry’s bold experiment continued to grow, and this year the sign-ups for the choir filled up 170 spots within ten minutes. Ostrava Sings the Gospel reserved the largest concert hall in the city, selling out three performances for a total of 4,000 people.
Since most of the people who are singing in the choir don’t fully understand the message of the songs, a portion of each practice is devoted to explain the text. At these practices, choir members who came to faith through the ministry give their testimonies, and members are encouraged to join discovery Bible studies after the event. During the concert, the gospel message is explained and this year over 1,800 people took the offer to receive copies of John’s Gospel.
The event has gained such a reputation that it is listed on Czech travel sites as a recommended Christmas destination, and this year’s concert was broadcast on national television on Christmas Day, reaching a nation-wide audience. Other JV staff have followed Terry’s example, and this year “Sings the Gospel” outreach events were held by churches in 5 different cities. In total, over 500 people performed for around 8,000 audience members, including “Bratislava Sings the Gospel,” which was launched by staff members Mark and Amy Chase last year, selling out all 1,500 seats in the national broadcasting theater.
Sometimes bold experiments can have surprising results. Praise God with us for the opportunity to sing the gospel to people who have not yet heard the good news.
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