NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) – As part of Southern Baptists' annual Beat Hunger emphasis, a contemporary Christian band, The Swift, will give proceeds from an Oct. 15 concert to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.
For those who cannot attend the event, it will be broadcast live at www.beathunger.com from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 15.
Admission to the concert at Rocketown, an inner-city ministry club in Nashville, Tenn., is one canned food item to benefit local hunger ministries, and a love offering will be taken for the World Hunger Fund to be used 100 percent for hunger ministry in Jesus' name.
The concert coincides with Beat Hunger Weekend Oct. 10-12 at Southern Baptist churches nationwide.
"The Swift is a wonderful group of young men with a real heart for souls and a real love for the Lord," said Steven S. Nelson, director for hunger concerns for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "I've been very impressed with their spirit as well as the quality of their music. They've been a part of the World Hunger Fund for about two years and have visited a couple of the World Hunger sites and shared that they had been deeply moved by what they saw."
The band released its self-titled debut album in December 2002 and has been a part of The Go Show tour with Audio Adrenaline and MercyMe to promote student involvement in missions.
Lead singer Britt Edwards shared some thoughts about his experience at one of the hunger sites in a journal entry. He said he doesn't believe he has ever been as humbled as when he stepped out of a van in front of the tiny Victory Chapel in Cleveland, Ohio.
"It was a long shot from an auditorium, far from a mega-church campus, and certainly not the result of a successful building fund drive," Edwards wrote. "Nonetheless, it ministers daily the love of Jesus in ways that some churches can't even fathom."
Edwards described the rooms crammed with stacks of bread crates, clothes and folding chairs that are used as a ministry center several times a week for the poor in the community.
"Most of us have so much that we lack for nothing," he wrote. "And the problem is that we've grown to depend on all the stuff that we've accumulated. Then we think that we are somehow in need if we are missing an ingredient for a recipe necessary to complete the evening's three-course meal. Oh, how backwards! How far can we run from the words of Jesus in Matthew 25? 'Depart from me, you cursed, ... for I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink.'"
Edwards' testimony is in line with the band's outlook on their involvement in Christian music. The members – Edwards, Chris Byers, Mike Simons and Trae Drose – said they didn't move to Nashville in order to advance their careers or "hobnob" with their heroes. They came to uphold and challenge the Christian music industry to maintain a seriousness for ministry.
"The more we got involved in the ministry side of music, the less we saw of artists actively sharing the Gospel and pursuing audience members at concerts," Edwards said. "We felt if God could use us as salt and light, we could help raise the standards for Christian artists. I know we're new and young, but we still want to be an example to Christian bands like others have been to us. It's a shame that some groups and singers have captive audiences every night, and the audiences are walking out the door the same."
The Swift is playing at Rocketown for free in order to allow 100 percent of the love offering to benefit the World Hunger Fund. Some people wonder how 100 percent of contributions to the hunger fund can pay for meals, but it's because the distribution system is already in place through the Southern Baptist Convention's 10,000 missionaries in North America and around the world.
The missionaries' and administrators' compensation is provided through the Cooperative Program, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Volunteers also make up a large portion of those who distribute the food.
When $1 is given through the World Hunger Fund, 80 cents is sent to the International Mission Board for overseas hunger projects while 20 cents is sent to the North American Mission Board to support hunger projects in the United States and Canada.
Nelson encourages those who want to be a part of the concert to benefit World Hunger via webcast to notify him at email@example.com so that he can send them personal greetings from the platform that night. For those who plan to attend at Rocketown, doors open at 6:30 p.m. and a canned food item will serve as admission.
"We're supposed to fulfill the Great Commission," Edwards said. "And either we accept responsibility for that duty now or be held accountable later. As a Christian community, we're responsible for each other. We need to encourage each other in that direction. This is what we've seen the Lord do for us, and we want to do it for others."
For more information, visit www.beathungerweekend.com or www.beathunger.com.
© 2003 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.