When we prepare to contract artists for our concert series, so much of the time we’ve already ‘lived’ that night in our vision for ministry through WBVN. What I mean by this is simply that in our hearts something has already happened about that concert before it has happened in that concert. In some way, we‘ve already seen what will happen there, not in detail but in the event’s purpose. We’ve envisioned what it can mean to those people that come and what the potential is for ministry to take place in our attendees’ hearts. Concerts can be fun, they can be entertaining, they can be encouraging and they can be inspirational. We trust they are relevant to the believer’s Christian experience. If we did not have a vision for those events in our hearts even before they happen we would not do them!
This month we will present for our first time Shane and Shane. They’ll bring with them Starfield, Bethany Dillon and author David Nasser in their Vision of You Tour. However, we were working on a Shane and Shane concert long before we knew about the tour itself. Why? Well, because for the last couple of years, in our hearts we’ve already lived out a concert with Shane and Shane. We believe that something will happen that evening worthy of our time to be a part of. Shane and Shane represent this ministry’s desire to express a night of Worship. Worship meaning a vertical song and praise to God. Worship is Earth to Heaven. Praise is horizontal. In our case, believers joining together with other believers, encouraging one another and themselves. Praise added to praise creates the opportunity for Worship; it’s the Petri dish for Worship. Praise is the beginning of Worship. What starts out horizontally-many people praising God-transitions to the vertical. Many times, what we do at the WBVN concerts creates Worship by way of our Praise. We are looking forward to Shane and Shane and the opportunity for more than just songs.
Shane and Shane recorded three consecutive projects from 2002 to 2004. However, while continuing to tour some 250 dates per year, they have recently taken three years off from recording compact discs to ‘refresh’ their vision for ministry. As Shane Everett says, “That was the first time we had paused to evaluate life since we began writing and performing music full-time. We had to ask the important questions—what are our goals? What are we doing here? Are we just playing music, or is it really something more?” Partner Shane Barnard asked God “to do more than our songs can do at our concerts; confessing that more and more all we have are the songs with words, wood, strings, and drums. It’s asking Him to do something when we play. Even though He’s everywhere, we’re asking Him to come and stir our hearts.” Asking those questions and awaiting on God to answer them, that’s why we have been trying to book this band!
Over the years our concerts have been more than just words, wood, strings and drums, more than just songs. They have joined us together. They have taken the edge off of any differences we might have. The concerts have provided us a single expression of the Love of God, celebrating what we have in common for two hours at a time.
Many times, as believers, we may not know exactly what to do. Maybe there are no words, no actions, no clear way to deal with the daily stress and frustration in our lives. Perhaps we face great fear or disappointment. Maybe we find ourselves in deep doubt. One of those can be true at the moment or perhaps all of those can be true all at once. No matter what we are going through, the terrific or the terrible, one thing is always ‘in season’ and that is we can Praise and Worship Him in (during) all things.
For us our concerts are decisions that get made about community. We are doing the Phil Keaggy concert in April, not because we know for sure that we can make it ‘pay-off’ but rather how can we live without bringing the very best we can find to this community of believers. We will be one of 18 cities to have a chance to host and contract the concert celebrating 30 years since the release of Phil’s most successful project. If our motivation is to truly serve the Christian community, how can we not take that opportunity to see Christian genius, Phil’s God-given talent? And, even more than just the songs, Phil Keaggy’s heart for ministry. Seeing an artist of such skill, housed in a humble and tenderhearted expression is encouraging and a teaching witness to believers. We will be encouraged by the experience.
This past week, while we were preparing for the Listener Appreciation Weekend, a box arrived from Shane and Shane. It was a box of posters to be used by us for advertising. We went about getting them ready to display at the area colleges and other locations. I had not taken the time to actually read the material on the poster. After preparing them for distribution, I noticed I had forgotten to put the phone number on the poster and had to figure out a way to get the contact number on each one. While applying the sticker with the phone number contact on the poster I noticed the bottom line on the poster they had sent. It read, ‘Uniting together for more than songs’. Wow, that’s it! That’s exactly what we contracted this band to do, more than just songs! That’s exactly why we’ve always taken the time and effort to do the concerts for some 18 years. One thing’s for sure, WBVN and Shane and Shane will be on the same page March 15th: People that come will leave with something more than they came with, something more valuable than just a song! Thank you for all the years of making those moments possible by attending our concert events. I think we have all been blessed by the concert experience and having been joined together for a moment of Worship.