Last Sunday night, we attended our second Newsboys concert at a weekend festival in Rowlett, Texas, about an hour away from our hotel.
These guys have a great sound, and they have so many hits that the audience expects to hear, that I suspect they get frustrated that there isn’t much room left for other songs that they want to do. They also put on what is probably the best show in the Christian music biz.
But the thing that made the entire experience worth the drive for me on Sunday night was their worship set. Following the trend in modern worship, the music doesn’t stop – for the most part – during that part of the program. The absence of any pause prevents the audience from stopping to cheer on the band, and maintains an appropriate, vertical focus.
After singing Amazing Love and He Reigns, and after a moving recitation of a psalm, Peter Furler – the lead singer spoke for about ten minutes.
I’ve said this in previous posts, but I really admire Peter. Even though he is a part of a band that is known for a lot of light, fun hits, he demonstrates profound spiritual depth in his words. On Sunday night, he eschewed the typical “altar call” type of presentation that you see at a lot of Christian concerts. Instead, knowing that his audience was almost 100% Christian, he spoke to us as fellow believers.
Peter talked about spiritual formation. He spoke of how Christians are no different from non-Christians any longer. He told us that we won’t really experience any changes in our habits or personalities until we come into community with other spiritually strong believers, and until we begin to get serious about being in the Word. He encouraged us to be in prayer, asking God about our purposes in this world, and he discouraged us from the type of escapism that reads end times books and sits on the rooftops, waiting for Jesus to return.
He reminded us that the church should be a light in the world.
Words like that bring even more meaning to their albums. I find myself listening to their songs this week, hearing that same message again and again in the lyrics of songs like Shine and Live in Stereo.
Fun music. Deep lyrics. Hearts that long for God, and which seek to use their influence to restore His church. That is the real secret to the Newsboys’ longevity and success.