The Beauty of Exit Tour
May 25, 2018 | 7 min read | Jamie O'Toole
Drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll. People have been preaching against this debaucherous trio for decades, but the members of Josiah Venture saw it as inspiration. Would it be possible to use a live concert to engage students, start conversations about relevant topics, and even reach young people with the good news of Jesus Christ?
The answer: Yes. And so began Exit Tour.
Though it now runs in several countries across Central and Eastern Europe, Exit Tour first began in the Czech Republic as a way to connect with high school students in schools around the country and promote the Exit 316 TV series created by Josiah Venture. The TV show is no longer being made, but the ministry is still going strong.
Most recently, Czech’s Exit Tour team visited Ostrava, the third largest city in the country. The team spent a busy week in the city partnering with Clickostel, one of several branches on the local CityChurch.cz platform. They visited three schools, hosted fun hangouts each afternoon, and ended the week by putting on a full-length concert in a local club.
The results: Inspiring. In one week, hundreds of students participated in engaging lectures given by Christian men and women. The local youth group was empowered to reach out and connect with other young people around the city. More than 200 guests attended the concert, where lead singer of the team’s band Divine Attraction, Cory Simon shared his testimony and the gospel, and more than 40 students left on the last night with a Bible and information about the local church community.
This is just the immediate fruit. The one week spent investing in Ostrava was likely the first step in the journeys of many more young people throughout the city who are being pursued by Christ.
A Day in the Life
The idea of Exit Tour may seem simple enough, but it’s hard for many to imagine the logistics of how the week plays out.
“The days are long. We start early and end late,” says Tyrel Good, team videographer.
Each day begins at a different school at 6:15, where two vans full of equipment are unloaded for the school program. Everything is set up and the program begins at 8 with a short, opening concert.
Then there are two 90 minute sessions, in which different classes attend one of the various prevention seminars offered or a time of English lessons and games. This portion meets a requirement placed on the schools by the Czech government to address topics such as sex, drugs, bullying, abuse, and other prominent societal issues, and enables Exit Tour to exist in the first place.
At 12:30, everyone meets back together for a closing concert and everything is packed up and loaded back into the vans.
After lunch, the team heads to another venue, usually a local coffee shop, park, or public area to host the daily Exit party. This is an afternoon event used to give the local youth group an opportunity to connect with the students on a deeper level. Every day closes with dinner and prayer at the local church, with the exception of the concert on the last night. The final show requires a second round of loading and unloading the vans and setting up and tearing down at the venue.
It is an intense week for all those involved, but there is a method to the madness and even more happening behind the scenes.
Being the Bridge
On the surface, Exit Tour appears to be a wild week of nonstop activity (and it is!), but there is more going on than loud concerts and fun hangouts. JV’s mission to equip young leaders to fulfill Christ’s commission through the local church is the driving motivation behind every week of tour and the main goal of the team as they visit each city.
Working with and investing in the local church is at the heart of the Exit Tour ministry. “Our job is to be the bridge between the church and the students,” says Jena Pospisil, Exit Tour director and long-time team member, as he describes the way the team partners with the local youth group throughout the week.
The young people from the church accompany the team at every school and hangout and are trained over the course of the week on how to take bold steps of faith in reaching out to their fellow students.
“I feel like this week was pretty blessed. God gave us so many blessings in getting to meet so many students,” says Click Kostel member, Katerina Vopalecka.
“My favorite part of this week was seeing the local kids from church engaging with the students,” says Tom Michalko, pastor of the church Click Kostel and member of the Exit team. “It was great to work together with one goal and see everyone connected by the same passion.”
That is the beauty of Exit Tour. It is not just about the daily programs in schools or fun events. It is about empowering young leaders in the local church to work together and pursue their peers for the sake of the gospel. This unique ministry bridges the gap between students and the local church to make a way for the fellowship and discipleship necessary for true life change.
Please join us in praying for the growth and constant transformation of this unique ministry, both here in Czech and across Central and Eastern Europe. Pray for boldness in the local churches partnering with Exit Tour to reach out to and connect with their city’s youth, as well as movement by the Spirit in the hearts of the students encountered throughout the program. Also pray that God would guide the Exit teams in how to most effectively support local churches in reaping long-lasting and reproducing fruit as a result of Exit Tour.
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