With Christian music group NewSong leading the way, volunteers at Holt’s Winter Jam concert make tremendous strides in helping children in need through child sponsorship
By Brian Campbell, Creative Services Director
Lexington, Kentucky– It’s hours before the first act and throngs of people of all ages— in a line five people wide — wrap around a city block. When I look outside 50 minutes prior to the pre-show, the crowd is wrapped around two city blocks, snaking through a public parking lot next to the Rupp Arena in Lexington.
Inside the arena, with 20 minutes to showtime, youth pastors from hundreds of miles away are meeting for the youth leadership reception. Members of groups like the David Crowder Band and Newsboys come and pray and encourage youth leaders and their ministries. They are all so full of energy and impassioned for the youth ministry of Lexington and surrounding areas. Tony Nolan wraps up the reception. He calls on youth leaders to step up and lead by example. To walk the talk. Tony calls on them to sponsor a child through Holt International. He says that this is a way for the leaders to live what they preach. “Step up and help the widows and orphans in their time of plight,” Tony says. “We are called to this. Now let’s show our youth how it’s done.”
As the youth pastors rush the Holt International table, which is stacked with hundreds of sponsorship picture folders, a rumble comes from the main auditorium. The countdown to the main event has started. NewSong takes the stage. Fifteen thousand fans come to their feet, singing and praising God at the top of their lungs. Dan Lindsay, Holt International’s tour representative, hangs back during the NewSong set to count the new sponsorships from the youth pastor reception. Nearly ten percent of those who attended the reception made a commitment to sponsor a child. He smiles and indicates that the evening is starting out well.
Moving backstage, NewSong members come down from their set and grab waters, sharing smiles and laughing about their performance. Eddie Carswell quickly turns on his heel to pop back out onstage and introduce the next act. Returning backstage, Eddie turns to Dan and asks him about the number of volunteers. “Over a hundred showed up,” Dan replies. A big grin flashes across his face. “With all those volunteers tonight, it should be a good show for Holt and for the children. We couldn’t make this work without the volunteers.”
Intermission arrives. Eddie comes on stage and shares about the mission of Holt International, the importance of child sponsorship, and how it can change a child’s life. In an arena of fifteen thousand, the audience is nearly silent and listens to every word. When Eddie finishes and releases the audience, a reverberating roar is heard as masses of people move to the Holt table, where hundreds of child sponsorship folders wait. Dozens of volunteers move around the tables, helping folks fill out forms. Some volunteers bring child folders to the people still sitting in the arena.
A younger couple looks over the information of the little girl they just sponsored. When asked about their decision to sponsor this particular little girl, the woman’s lower lip starts to quiver. “I’m a new mother of a 6-month-old little girl,” she says, as she stares at the little image on the page. “And this little girl is close to my daughter’s age. I love being a mommy, and I think every child should have a mommy. This is what I can do today to help her get closer to having a mommy.” She looks up from the picture with tears and a smile from ear to ear. “That’s why we sponsored her.”
With parents in tow, groups of young people pool their funds to sponsor children. Some pick up the first picture folder they see, others look for particular details
The 20-minute intermission comes to an end and the music resumes. Dan gathers all the new sponsorships from the main floor and three other locations. Soon all the volunteers from the audience find Dan and turn in all the sponsorships they gathered from the audience. Backstage Dan counts and organizes the new sign-ups. Russ Lee of NewSong stops by and comments about the stack surrounding Dan. “This wouldn’t be possible without those volunteers tonight,” says Russ. Just then, Dan gets a phone call from Eddie. “How many do we have tonight?” asks Eddie. Four hundred and sixty-six is the total for the night. “Praise God!” says Eddie in a loud voice that can be heard from the phone.
The concert comes to an end. Brooms sweep confetti, chairs clank together as crews pack it all in. Dan carefully packs up the remaining picture folders, and Holt volunteers fold tables. “Nashville will be another large show,” Dan says, straightening his back.
Around 2 in the morning, Dan will climb on the bus and drive through the night to Nashville. The tables will be set up, the volunteers will come and children’s lives will be changed through child sponsorship once again.
Thank you to all the volunteers and new child sponsors, you are making a real difference in the lives of children!
Winter Jam ends in three weeks! We still need volunteers to man the Holt tables and help sign up sponsors! Click here to find a concert near you!