A school has seen their Christian Union grow from nothing to 60 young people after the impact of Higher Manchester 2016.
Back in Spring 2016, over four weeks our mission teams visited 55 schools, 23 youth groups and delivered five explosive gospel gigs at the O2 Apollo. This was the first ever Higher Tour and it proclaimed the gospel to 30,000 young people. Now, more than two years on, we’re still seeing the ripples across the city.
One of the schools – in Weaverham, just outside Northwich – was visited by BrightLine, our high-energy four-piece consisting of graduates from the Message Academy.
‘We had a great session,’ says Daniel – BrightLine’s singer, beatboxer and high-energy front man. ‘The kids loved it. The staff loved it. After the schools visit, the school put on two coaches to take students to the Higher Apollo gigs.’
Many of the students made a commitment to Jesus on the night of the Apollo gig. Because of this, the school set up a Christian club called Boost – and BrightLine were invited back a few weeks later to see it for themselves, finding dozens of students who were now attending weekly.
This was 2016. ‘In our busy schedule I hadn’t really thought much more about it since,’ continues Daniel. ‘But earlier this year – two years on – we were invited to go back. To be honest I’m not sure what I expected to find. It was amazing – there were 65 students there!’
A number of the students had started to bring their not-yet-Christian friends with them. ‘There were a number who were interested in what was going on and who were interested in the local church.
‘Each one of those 65 young people represents a story of their own. One of the teachers told us about a student who had been at the school when we first visited in 2016. She was having a tough time and it was impacting her school life. After our visit, she began to listen to our music and our message and the teacher said that as a result there had been a dramatic change in her whole demeanour and her attitude towards life. Music is so powerful, and this is why we write and create what we do – to impact the message of what these young people are listening to through their headphones.’
Having an opportunity to see the ongoing impact of Higher was a rare experience for the band. ‘It’s so encouraging to see fruit that lasts. Normally we’ll go into a school and see young people respond but we then we have to leave them to it and head off on mission elsewhere. We rarely get the chance to see these young people on their journey of faith beyond our gigs – it’s inspiring to know that what we do has a lasting impact.’
Against a backdrop of what sometimes feels like increasing opposition to the gospel, Daniel is quick to counter. ‘As time goes on I realise more and more that the gospel is effective. And young people do actually want to hear about Jesus. I think there’s a misconception that they don’t want to hear about God or faith but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. They’re longing for something more. Often when you present the gospel to them they respond with, “Why have I never heard this before?” No one has told them that their life has purpose or that they are unique. What a message! I love that I get to deliver it.’
Keep up with BrightLine and the Higher Tour on social media and at highertour.com