Edited by Frank Fortunato firstname.lastname@example.org
Coordinator, AD2000 Worship and Arts Network
Greetings, Worship and Arts Friends.
Each of the AD2000 Movement Tracks/Networks have been asked to prepare a two page historical summary of their activities for a special CD-ROM in preparation for Celebrate Messiah 2000. These Global Worship Reports began as one of the communications vehicles for the Worship and Arts Track. I thought it would be helpful to share this historical perspective to trace some of the special things that God has been doing through the W&A Track.
Warmly yours, Frank Fortunato
Coordinator, AD2000 Movement Worship and Arts Track
Brief Historic Overview of the AD2000 Movement Worship and Arts Network
By Frank Fortunato
BEGINNINGS: During final preparations of the program and worship activities for the Global Congress on World Evangelization (GCOWE 95) in Seoul, Korea, Luis Bush, head of the AD2000 Movement, asked Byron Spradlin and Frank Fortunato to form a new track or network for the AD2000 fellowship. He mentioned the need for a track devoted to music and the arts. The AD2000 Worship and Arts Network was birthed with Frank Fortunato as coordinator.
Joining Spradlin and Fortunato to form the executive team were music and missions mobilizers Gerrit Gustafson, Dave Hall, Dale Huff, and Grace Wiebe, and later Scott Wesley Brown and Paul Neeley. Jimmy and Carol Owens, followed by New Zealanders David and Dale Garrett served as co-chairpersons. An advisory council with internationally known Christian leaders and artists also resulted.
INITIAL DOCUMENT: The initial document stated: "Recognizing that the goal of global evangelization is to present worshipers to the Lord from every people group, the Network seeks to serve existing ministries and initiatives by promoting an international network of information and resources on worship and artistic communication to the Body of Christ. The Network will aim to inspire worship musicians and artists to join church planting efforts to help enable musicians and artists in emerging congregations to develop their own vernacular worship and artistic expressions.. Where possible, the Track will set up recording studios where none exist to encourage the recording of indigenous worship songs."
NATIONAL LEADERS: From the earliest days of the Track, The SIL ethnomusicologists helped direct the focus on indigenous worship and ethnic artistic expressions. Before long we started to contact other worship and arts mobililzers in various parts of the world. Leaders in Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean became consultants for the Track.. In the Philippines the Worship and Arts Track became a national entity with thirty full-time workers serving the Network there.
EMAIL AND WEB INITIATIVE: One of the first initiatives of the Track was to form an email forum to discuss cultural and cross-cultural issues related to worship and the arts. The forum also posted information on resources, helped mobilize artists to join music and artistic groups, and provided a means for people to connect. Soon a web page emerged, as part of the AD2000 Movement, followed by a second website that greatly expanded beyond the Movement.
LANDMARK COMMUNICATION: As we made early plans to launch a newsletter the US Center contacted the Track to help compile an entire issue of Missions Frontiers devoted to worship and the arts in missions with a special focus on the role that ethnic music would have as part of church planting strategy. Twelve articles were included in this special edition, followed by a second issue on the arts, and a third combined issue with sixteen articles. This focus on global worship and the role of the arts in missions provided a huge communications boost for the Track. These special releases of Mission Frontiers have great historical significance as they gathered together what may be the most comprehensive compilations of writings on worship and missions in print to date.
GCOWE 97 CONSULTATION ON WORSHIP AND THE ARTS: Another landmark event took place with the GCOWE 97 South Africa global gathering. This event had historical significance in that it was one of the very first ever global consultations devoted to worship and the arts in mission. The Consultation was summarized in the following Manifesto: "To declare the supremacy of Christ by raising up a generation of godly artists committed to the task of seeing God restore all nations to his original intention by means of their unique artistic expressions especially among the unreached people of the earth so that all people might worship him."
GLOBAL WORSHIP WRITINGS: As those involved in the network continued to grow, the need for a communications vehicle surfaced to provide a regular global round up of what God was doing using worship and the arts around the world. This resulted in the email newsletter ("e-zine") called the Global Worship Report, with 10-12 reports each issue, along with listings of resources, mini-book reviews, quotes, etc. A second newsletter, Ethnic Worship and Arts Focus followed soon after, devoted mostly to worship and the arts in the Islamic world. Track leaders also had their writings published in Evangelical Missions Quarterly and other missions magazines, as well as a book devoted to Christian Music. Taking seriously what he wrote, one track leader decided to move his entire family into missions to practice what he preached and wrote about.
RECORDING STUDIOS IN THE 10/40: Realizing there were many places in the 10/40 area where worship musicians were hindered from recording in a commercial studio, Track leaders began setting up inexpensive, digital recording studios, firstly in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakstan, and later in Tunisia and other restricted areas of the world. Some of the worship tapes produced in Tajikistan were broadcast across the nation and other parts of Central Asia via Christian short wave radio.
GLOBAL WORSHIP SONGBOOK AND CD: Sensing the need that churches had for fresh missions music that celebrated the Lord's global reign and called people to finish the task of world evangelization, Track leaders compiled "Let the Nations Rejoice" a 32-song resource of new and classic missions tunes. A CD of twelve of the songs soon followed.
TRAINING: As track leaders became aware of the need for training materials for musicians and artists, a committee was formed "to develop a curriculum that empowers and mobilizes arts believers to communicate God's message cross culturally." The Working Title for the curriculum: "TILL ALL PEOPLES PRAISE HIM-fresh strategies for cross-cultural witness through the arts"
One track leader was provided a tuition free scholarship to study graduate level ethnomusicology, with the intention of developing ways to influence mission organizations to use ethnic principles of music and art as part of their evangelism and church planting strategy.
Another track leader, sensing the need to train musicians in evangelism launched a prison ministry led by Christian musicians. Part of the training involved learning how to give a testimony and how to lead someone to Christ. Hundreds have come to Christ or made rededications through these effort to reach prisons in the Nashville area.
Another track leader is involved in training ethnomusicology student interns overseas each year.
ARTISTIC RESEARCH: Realizing that many unreached people groups have a special affinity to music and arts, academic research on musical resources within the culture of several Islamic unreached people groups has been completed, with more to follow. The eventual goal is to provide such research resources to those working in all unreached people groups, so that the arts will provide a beach head for the Gospel.
INTO THE FUTURE: As the Track heads into the future, the vision of the Network will be "to declare the supremacy of Christ by raising up a generation of godly artists committed to the purpose of seeing God build his church and release the unique worship and artistic expressions of all peoples. Therefore the Network exists to see a worshiping church for every people."
REFLECTION: Perhaps the major contribution of the Track these five years has been communications. God used the Track to heighten the awareness to the Body of Christ of the place worship and the arts have should have in missions. This was greatly aided with the help of Mission Frontiers magazine. Much of the behind the scenes efforts of Track leaders has been networking individuals to other people and other opportunities. One of the specific goals the track accomplished was setting up recording studios in the 10/40 area to encourage vernacular worship. The main thing we would have done differently was to identify a global network of national leaders sending in regular reports from their areas.
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