Winter Jam is Christian music’s largest annual tour, I have been going for 11 years but have actually been to 13 shows, because well I might be a little obsessed. I had the opportunity to go to two shows last year and this year, and they never cease to amaze me.
I love going to Winter Jam for so many reasons, the bands are always amazing, the message is always fantastic, the merch that I get is great, meeting some of the artists is special and cool (not even because they’re famous, just because they’re genuinely cool people and I want them to be my best friends), but worshiping with thousands of believers from every background is my absolute favorite part. There is nothing quite like standing in an arena with thousands of strangers, sitting next to people who you have no idea what their background or denomination is (and you don’t care what it is) jumping around, getting hyped, being silly, laughing, crying, and worshiping together. It is such a unique environment because at almost every show I’ve been to, I’ve gotten into a conversation with at least one stranger. Sometimes it’s been while we were waiting in line, or sometimes it’s during the show with the person right next to me, either way we can relate to each other immediately because you know that most likely everyone is there to worship.
Some people think I’m crazy for going to Winter Jam so many times, or going multiple times in the same year, for the same show, but honestly I’d happily go to every Winter Jam if possible. And here’s the deal, it’s not the exact same show, because the crowd isn’t the same, sometimes the worship is completely different just because the crowd is more into it and it is more intense and it’s not just a concert, as Russ Lee from Newsong (the founders of Winter Jam) always says we’re at church. We get to hear a gospel message and worship the Lord through every kind of music you can imagine, rap/hip hop, rock, contemporary, folk, and pop. There’s a genre for everyone (or in my case I like all of them). You can feel the Holy Spirit’s presents because there are so many people praying and worshiping all at once, and it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed.
Winter Jam is so important to me, because not only is it a great tool to reach nonbelievers, but it is also an encouragement for christians. For me, and I think for a lot of people winter is a hard season, it tends to be more gloomy and for me makes my depression worse. But every year I go to Winter Jam, I’m usually depressed or going through a hard time, and without fail every year The Lord uses people on stage to remind me that He is good, and there is a plan for everything. The Lord has used Winter Jam to change my life and save my life on multiple occasions, as I shared a couple of weeks ago, I have struggled with self harm and thoughts of suicide in the past and multiple times I have been in a very dark place when I go to Winter Jam, and they talk about how the devil fills our heads with lies, telling us we are not enough, multiple years the speaker (either Tony Nolan or Nick Hall) has talked about self harm specifically, and it is a good reminder that I’m not alone, the lies I hear in my head are from the devil, but Jesus died for me and tells me that because of Him I am enough.
Winter Jam is also so important because they have such a heart for orphans and getting people to sponsor them, Holt International is an international adoption agency (where you can also sponsor kids) they sponsors Winter Jam and every year they bring somebody out to talk about orphans and how we as Christians should be willing to give up going out to eat once a month, in order to sponsor a child who can’t even go to school. Matthew 25:40 says “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” The orphans are the least of these and it is our job to help. The people of Winter Jam don’t just get up on stage and tell us to sponsor these children, they do it themselves and encourage us to join in.
The people I’ve had the privilege to meet that are part of Winter Jam have been so genuine and kind. I had the opportunity to meet the tour pastor last year and he was so generous and we have stayed in contact. I’ve gotten to meet different artists throughout the years and they are all so nice and want to hear your story. This year I even had the amazing opportunity to meet Eddie from Newsong (I had met him when I was 5 but have no recollection of it and have been wanting to re-meet him for 11 years, but have never been able to) he was so kind and caring. The people of Winter Jam love the Lord and it shines right through them.
The Lord is using Winter Jam in so many ways to reach so many people all around the world. I’ve been to so many different concerts and tours but Winter Jam is by far my favorite because you can tell they have such a heart for the Lord. If you’ve never been to Winter Jam make sure and go next year (west coast starts in November and East coast will be starting next January) check them out at: http://2017.jamtour.com/
Remember to worship the Lord in everything you do, wherever you are, and remember that you are so loved by the creator of the universe, and that makes you pretty special. When you worship the Lord let it refresh you and make your light shine brighter, so that you can show someone that there is a light in their darkness.