Back to the future in missions–time to invest!

Kiev Photos
This photo of Kiev is courtesy of TripAdvisor-St. Andrew’s Church.

I’ve been really fortunate to be have been on the edge of some world events in my life.

  • In 1975, when I was 19, I was part of one of the first US music ministry groups to minister behind the “Iron Curtain” in Poland.  In 1978, I led a similar group to minister in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia) when that just wasn’t possible legally.
  • In 1981, Judie and I met on the first team to sing in then-barely-open-to-any-outside-influence People’s Republic of China, where our team was able to sing in major venues in major cities and on national television.
  • In 1989, shortly after moving to the United Kingdom as missionaries, we were glued to our TV as we watched the Berlin Wall disintegrate and totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia crumble from a closer vantage point.
  • Then in 1992, I was honored to go to three of those nations–Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine–to work with national singers to produce 5 worship albums in their national tongues! Those tapes were used to encourage and support hundreds of groups of new Christian believers who were being discipled in these newly-freed nations.

Over that time and since, I’ve also been part of, helped create, or led cross-cultural ministry training and mission events in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Washington, Manila, Nairobi, London, Seoul, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala…and Nashville.

Now, after years of being back in the US–things seem to have come full-circle!

We’ve been raising our son here in Middle Tennessee, doing worship ministry in the church, worship training in Latin America, developing digital and print worship resources both full-time and free-lance, doing tech consulting as well as teaching at conferences and churches.

But now, strategic opportunities for working with worship leaders and musicians both inside and outside the US keep coming up out of the blue, without me going after them! We believe the Lord’s calling us to re-launch the missionary ministry part of who I am.  He’s been speaking to me about things that I’m uniquely qualified to do at this stage in life.


As a result, right now, I have an immediate opportunity to build on the foundation that I was part of in the former Soviet republics:

Encouraging, coaching and training leaders in worship and outreach using music, in Biblical and practical ways, in a very exciting time and strategic place for the Church today…


It all happens very soon.

I leave the day after Thanksgiving, this November 23 and will be gone until December 13!

I’d like you to prayerfully consider partnering with me in finance and prayer to make that possible, and to build a fresh foundation for future ministry both here and overseas.  I need your help.

In Kiev, I will be teaching and leading as part of a 3-member team led by long-time friend and colleague, Byron Spradlin, and including Jason French from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.  We spend the first week with the 350 students of the Ukraine Evangelical Theological Seminary (founded 1992, the year I was last there) teaching on music, worship and the arts.

For our second week, we have a strategic opportunity.  Byron is now the Senior Associate for the Arts with the Lausanne Movement–an alliance of leaders all across the world committed to partnership in world evangelization.  (It was started in the 1970’s by Billy Graham and his team.)  Byron’s job is to be an international advocate and networker to see strategies developed that release the God-given gifting of artists in extending Christ’s Kingdom.  (The Lausanne 2010 gathering in Cape Town, South Africa brought together 4000 delegates from nearly 200 nations.)

Nearly 100 delegates from the Eurasia region–the 12 nations that were part of the former Soviet Union–will join us to meet and strategize action on how the arts can and should be used in touching this region for Christ.  Hard to believe this has all come in my lifetime!

Kiev Photos
This photo of Kiev is courtesy of TripAdvisor-Peremohy Plaza.


I need to raise money immediately for both the trip expenses which have been advanced to me at this point and for my work in preparation. 

I also need to raise monthly support for ongoing work because there are future opportunities already being talked about for Ghana, Japan, India and Romania as well as with ministries here in North America.

That will mean starting with a minimum of:

$3500 in initial expenses,

and then establishing

$3000 in monthly support.

The initial expenses are the most urgent and crucial–it will be important to have them in hand before I fly on the 23rd.  The flight cost has been advanced to me, and I need to raise that as well as cover other expenses for the trip as I prepare to go.

Raising $3500 in two weeks, really?  It is doable—if all the friends and partners seeing   this gave just $5-10, the need would be more than met.  Actually, I’m praying for 1 person @ $500 • 1 person @ $250 • 11 people @ $100, 21 people @ $50 and 24 people @ $25 for a total of $3500.

Of course, you can give more or less than this, but this will meet the need. Make a secure donation here for both your initial gift or for on-going monthly support.  You can give via credit/debit card, check or by automatic bank draft.  Donations are tax-deductible and are figured in US dollars.

As for monthly donors, right now we need: 2 at $250/mo.,  5 at $100/mo.,  20 at $50/mo., and 40 @$25/mo. for a total of $3000 a month.

I also need to revitalize a support base of intercessors who will stand with us.

Many of you will be aware of the evangelistic work we did with our team, WINGS OF LIGHT, as well as our role at Youth for Christ in Britain establishing a similar band–TVB–that discipled young musicians, led students to Christ, and modeled leading worship.  Some of you traveled with us with WINGS, Continentals, or TVB, or went on teams with us to Latin America.  We may have worked alongside you in California, YFCI, or in the UK.  Some of you know us from our time and ministry here in Tennessee since 1993, or have met me at a conference or online.  We need your “experienced” prayer support and investment now.

Maybe you can’t give financially right now–it has been a tough time for many of us in these days.  More important than just the finance, we need a revitalized team of prayer supporters and intercessors who will stand with us.  Please leave a comment below if you want to be part of our intercessory team, and I will add you to our list to receive reports and prayer requests.

(You can find more information on MusicWorks International and ACT here.)


God gave me a special encouragement just two days ago!  I wanted to see some examples of current Ukrainian evangelical churches in worship. I found some videos of worship from New Life Church, Kiev from a service just 2 weeks ago.  There were translations of some of the currently used worship songs around the world, some I did not know, and then…I heard it.

It was one of the songs from the albums I produced in Kiev 20 years ago!  I nearly cried as I realized that the project had a lasting impact in the life of believers and churches in the Ukraine.  See it yourself here–it’s a translation of the song “Hiding Place” by Michael Ledner. It starts at 13:45 in…

Прославление 21 октября (Worship 21 October) from New Life on Vimeo.

“You are my hiding place, You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You, I will trust in You.  Let the weak say ‘I am strong in the strength of my Lord.'”

© 1981 Maranatha! Music


Will you pray about investing in this exciting strategic trip? And will you give so that we can go “back to the future” in launching out to the nations again? Time is of the essence. Pray for us as Paul did for the Ephesians:

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe…”
Ephesians 1:17-19a, NIV.

We need your prayers and your investment.  Together, we can help an army of the most effective communicators out there–musicians and artists–have a powerful impact across Eurasia. You can find more information on our ministry and make your donation here. We are trusting in the Lord, our “hiding place.”  Thanks so much!

PS: On the way back, I’m stopping in the UK 6-13 December for an additional week to consult with friends and mentors to talk about this new season.  Please pray for that too!

How do you think music can be used effectively in these Eurasian countries?  Have you been to Ukraine?

Will you invest or take time to pray for us? Leave your comments below!

John Stott has died…

John Stott, an icon of passionate, clear-thinking evangelical faith, died today at age 90 in London.  I read his book, Basic Christianity, as a young believer, and it had a powerful impact–one that I passed on by recommending it to all new believers.  He had a passion and commitment to evangelism, and to linking the church worldwide for that task.  He was a significant force in shaping evangelicals in Britain and around the world to address issues in modern society, yet lived humbly and simply himself. He wrote other books like Your Mind Matters, The Cross of Christ, and The Contemporary Christian–for a total of fifty volumes.

I was honored when Wings of Light got to do a concert at All Souls, Langham Place in central London (where he was rector, then rector emeritus) after a Sunday night service where he preached back in 1980!  He has left an incredible legacy through both his life and writing. Praise God for his faithfulness!!

Check out the article for background, and then check out this memorial video his ministry posted on YouTube today:

John Stott Has Died | Christianity Today

What have you read of John Stott’s writings?  You may want to find Basic Christianity and start!

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