Grace, Hymns, & Compassion

It seems like every day I delete e-mails asking me to consider some product, or some event, or doing something that I do not think will be a good use of my time or money. But when I got an e-mail last January asking me to consider hosting a Matthew Smith and Indelible Grace concert I thought to myself, “ok, let’s see what this involves.”

On September 30, 2010, we replaced what would have been the 6th Large Group of the school year with this spectacular concert. What drew our student leaders to pursue this was that this is not just a concert for the sake of having a concert. This was a chance to hear and sing some hymns, written a couple hundred years ago, in a soft-rock format that would give them the freedom to focus on the messages of some of these treasures that are often forgotten by today’s young people.

Nearly 300 attended the concert, including about 50 alumni of our chapter, as well as some folks from the area who are familiar with the Indelible Grace project. It was so beautiful that in the midst of playing the songs, Matthew took some time to explain the gospel message that is at the heart of each of these hymns. What a refreshing night of hearing of the Lord’s compassion to those who put their faith in him!

But as with all of Matthew’s concerts, the Lord’s great compassion was not the only thing on his heart. For many years Matthew has taken the time during his concerts to explain and advertise the work of Compassion International, a ministry that aims to set children free from poverty through one-on-one sponsorships.

One of my proudest moments as a staff worker came after the show when I was talking with Matthew and the representative from Compassion that came with him. The representative said to me, “We saw 12 sponsorships this evening.” I said, “That’s very nice!” To which he responded, “Well, in my experience, this is a record number of sponsorships at a concert that I know of…and I’ve worked way bigger concerts!” So often the Lord touches our hearts through the gospel presented in song. This I expected. I did not expect it to touch hearts in such a way that our students would respond with such self-sacrifice for “the least of these.”

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