What do you get when you get about 500 high school students together for a weekend of prayer, worship, music, fellowship, singing, pizza, host homes, choreography, and Bible study...and end it all with two amazing concerts?
You get Sounds Like Love.
This past November was my first time ever going to Sounds Like Love—in fact, before coming to my current church I had never even heard of it. As it turns out, that was my loss. Sounds Like Love is a Christian high school choral festival. You get about 500 high school students together for a weekend, they learn music and choreography for 7 songs (imagine the world's largest Christian show choir), and put on two concerts on Sunday afternoon.
That’s it in a nutshell. But if I were to stop there, it wouldn’t do justice to the power of God…the way God uses this weekend to touch the lives of the kids who participate, as well as those who help and come to the concerts, is almost indescribable. But I’m going to try anyway.
As church, we gather as individuals who come from different walks of life, different experiences, God has expressed himself in our lives in different ways. He shows himself to us through the faces of others when we meet, and we become community. I witnessed the same thing happening on a couple of levels last month…first, within our own group of kids from my church, and secondly, within the whole group of 500. The folks that run the weekend do a great job of allowing for that fellowship and relationship building time all while still focusing on the goal of putting together a great concert.
But the majority of our time together focused on the music itself. The kids, over the course of a day and a half, had nine hours of very intense rehearsal time. Friday night they split into their sections to work on just the music. They spent an hour and a half that night going over their part in the seven songs for the concert.
Saturday consisted of seven and a half hours of rehearsals, with worship, meals, Bible studies, and special speakers to help break up the day. This was when all the choreography for the music was learned. The director’s name is John Jacobsen, and he’s just absolutely amazing. As soon as he came in he immediately started working on choreography with the kids, and soon everyone was following along—even those who weren’t all that sure about this whole dancing thing at first.
And everything we did tied back to a sense of mission, a sense of calling. The leaders continuously stressed to the kids that what they were doing wasn’t just having fun singing, dancing, and getting to know each other (though all of those things definitely were happening), they were providing a ministry. They were ministering to each other, to the people who were coming to hear them sing, and ultimately they were being challenged to continue ministering when they returned home. Their gift of music is a ministry unto itself, but it involves so much more than that. I tell these kids all the time that they are not the FUTURE of the church. They ARE the church. They are the church right now. And as the church, God has called them through their baptism to lives of love and service. They are a city on a hill. They are the light of the world. And experiences like Sounds Like Love help empower them to discover, rediscover, and live out their calling.
Here's a clip from the opening number from this year's concerts. It's called Sing.