"Worship and Missions-- When Linked, They Become the Key to World Evangelization_ All of history is moving toward one great goal, the white-hot worship of God and His Son among all the peoples of the earth_Missions is the means to this goal" John Piper
Once again Christians put away denominational barriers and came together in record numbers to celebrate during the 1998 March for Jesus events in cities across the globe. By far the greatest turnout took place in Brazil with three million marchers in approximately 1000 cities. The city of Sao Paulo holds the record for the number of participants with two million.
Cuban believers continue to follow Jesus despite continuous hardships imposed by officials. One believer reports: "we have a repressively hot climate on our island. Our churches have to meet in small locations with many mosquitoes. We sweat a lot in worship by praising God and killing mosquitoes. We don't have fans. With all of this, the fire and joy of the Holy Spirit is not quenched." Reported in Voice of the Martyrs, May 1998.
Conductor John Nelson is a committed Christian who uses sacred music to build bridges to reach people in various nations. Nelson built that bridge recently with the Chinese people's interest to do something cross-cultural, perform the Brahms Requiem Three performances were scheduled with professional Chinese choirs and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Nelson had just one week to train the singers who did not have the natural ear for European music. By the end of the week they sang all the notes correctly, understood the text, and sang with exuberance. The performance was broadcast nationally on state television with biblical texts, to the largest possible television audience in the world. The young Chinese conductor working with the choirs asked Nelson how he could become a Christian. (For the full report by Richard Kauffman see Christianity Today, April 7, 1997).
One way of attracting Christian artists from many parts of the world to use their artistic expressions at the Australia Olympic games in 2000 will be a series of competitions leading up to the games. Facilitators in nations around the world will have events in 1999 and early 2000. Artists will be required to perform in five outreach venues and in five different churches before coming to Sydney. This will encourage them to use their talents in their home towns as well as giving them a variety of experiences before Sydney. Each artist will be asked to nominate one other country to visit and help evangelize. At the Olympics musicians, dancers, clowns, ethnic performers, mime artists, etc. will have opportunities to entertain while conveying the Gospel message. A Mission Manual with all the details will be available soon. For more information, contact Julie Spence at email@example.com.<>
People from many religions may be seeking God through their music, especially their "sacred" music. A unique kind of "seeker service" not sponsored by Christians took place recently in Morocco, called the "Fes Festival of World Sacred Music." Fes has had a reputation as a place where Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures have peaceably coexisted for centuries. Many nations were represented in their sacred music. One of the featured musicians representing the Christian faith at the Festival was Sister Marie Keyrouz, a Lebanese nun with a doctorate in musicology. She sang Byzantine Christian liturgy in Arabic, accompanied by twelve musicians and an eight-piece choir.
David Garratt from New Zealand understands the potential of Festivals like this. Speaking about worship and missions he shared: "one of the ways we can expect to see the Lord bring about a great global harvest is to see redeemed peoples give their indigenous artistic expressions back to Jesus as their worship." Perhaps some of the musicians at the Festival will one day (as Garratt says) find redemption in Jesus and offer their music back to him as their Christian worship. (More info about the World Sacred Music Festival can be seen at http://www.morocco-fezfestival.com).<>
Jim and Kristy Miller have worked for 14 years on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, with the Nuu-Chah-Nulth nation. Throughout their years of Church planting and counseling they focused on contextualizing the Gospel for the First Nations people. Jim is now the director of the "Songs to the Creator" Indigenous music program, developing Indigenous Cultural expression through music, dance and drama for the First Nations people. This involves encouraging Native believers to write their own music for worship and evangelistic outreach. Several ways they will implement this will be through, Intertribal music gatherings. (For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org)<>
A Christian musician works with Global Outreach in southwest China. As a musician she wanted to see Chinese people grow in their worship. God gave her a plan. She teams up with a Chinese woman who writes original Chinese lyrics. She then writes tunes in the local style, plays them for her Chinese friends who choose the ones they feel will appeal to Chinese people. She then arranges the songs and records them using equipment in her digital/midi studio. The recordings also include speaking in a story format to present vocabulary and ideas to people who have no background whatsoever in the Bible. She then makes copies of the tapes and give them to Chinese evangelists to distribute in the countryside. Master tapes also go to foreigners and Chinese traveling throughout the country to place in other strategic places in the country.
She writes: "When our family returns to China in January, 1999 I will begin teaching musical Chinese believers. The goal is to raise up worship leaders to go into the house churches and lead people into the presence of God. We could use people who are trained in music or studio engineering to come over for short periods to help us out with our recording needs." (To reach her by email email@example.com Email will be monitored after January 1. Or contact Beverly Briggs, 1820 Fairway Circle/ Las Cruces, NM 88011 505-522-1445.
At least 1,000 people have decided to become Christians during the first week of an evangelistic theatrical production in Baltimore, USA. At least 7,000 people watched the drama 'Eternity', which deals with 'life, death and life after death', in Baltimore's Rock Church between 23rd and 27th March 1998. Church reports speak of alcoholics and homosexuals responding positively to the altar calls at the end of the production. The event was spontaneously extended to April 3rd. Source: Baltimore Rock Church, USA
One of the truly significant cross-cultural opportunities for artists is the FACE Summer Institute. The five-week session involves training to understand the roles that the arts play in communicating the Gospel across cultures. The goal is for students to become artist-missionaries to unreached peoples. The purposes of the institute are:
The program includes living with and ministering with Navajo Christians for three weeks. The goal is to make relationships with Navajo people, experience Navajo culture, create culturally relevant art and minister through these arts at Navajo evangelistic meetings, and make art with and alongside Navajo youth. The arts usually included are drawing, carving, drama, puppets, dance, music, photography and poetry. (For more information contact Gene or Mary Lou Totten, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)<>
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