Concert Tour to Build Support for Mission Outreach

Post a Comment » Written on December 9th, 2004     
Filed under: News
WALNUT CREEK, CA (December 9, 2004)  – Two free concerts featuring recording  artist Brant Christopher have been scheduled at two California churches  in January to help raise funds for world mission ministries of the  Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC).

The concerts are the beginning of what is hoped to become a Healing  Hands tour extending throughout next year – a vision Christopher  created in an effort to build financial support for outreach ministries  of the Paul Carlson Partnership, particularly those in Congo.

The first concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 15, at  Hillside Covenant Church, 2060 Magnolia Way in Walnut Creek, with the  second concert at 6:30 p.m. the following day (Sunday, January 16) at  Cornerstone Covenant Church, 4105 Crowell Road in Turlock.

The Healing Hands tour will feature a full concert that includes  the showing of an abbreviated version of the Monganga Paul documentary released this year. The film tells the story of Dr. Paul  Carlson, Covenant medical missionary to Congo who was killed by Congo  rebels in November 1964. This year marks the 40th anniversary of  Carlson’s death.

Brant ChristopherAdmission to the concerts is free. Those attending will be offered an  opportunity to join the “Healing Hands Partners” program, pledging  support of $20 a month for the outreach work taking place in  northwestern Congo where the ECC, in partnership with the Congo Covenant  Church (CEUM), has ministered for decades. Those joining the new  partners program will receive Christopher’s latest CD release, “Circus  Life,” featuring a special song – “With His Hands” – written in tribute  to the memory of Dr. Paul Carlson.

“Dale Kuehne, a Covenant pastor in New Hampshire, introduced me to Brant  Christopher at the Covenant Annual Meeting last June,” notes Evelyn  Johnson, superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference who is  working closely with Christopher and Covenant World Mission in helping  launch the new effort. “I affirmed again the goodness of God as I heard  Brant’s story of how God called him out of a fast-paced, dollar-driven  secular role into a mission-focused role as a Christian songwriter and  concert artist with limited financial security. Brant’s passion to use  his God-given gifts to help the hurting, especially in the Congo, was  inspiring. And, I was moved to act. I committed ‘on the spot’ to help  translate Brant’s vision to action through offering benefit concerts  where the ministry of the Congo and the challenge of the Paul Carlson  Partnership could be shared. I had a strong sense that God would use  Brant to connect younger generations to this specific need.”

Brant’s story is the rags-to-riches story in reverse. Born Brant  Christopher Menswar, he rapidly rose through the ranks in the  credit/collection industry, enjoying all of the perks that come with  financial success – money, houses, cars. All the while, however, he says  he felt God tugging him in the direction of full-time music ministry – “a career with no guarantee of income, notoriety or success,” as he puts  it. “What do you do?”

In his case, Brant decided to do nothing, instead pushing even harder to  succeed even more in the industry that had treated him so generously. He  had no way of knowing that in just a few months, his world would come  crashing down.

“I lost my job,” he recalls. “My wife and I were living high on the hog  at the time, spending as much as we were making. I was out of work for  eight months. No one would hire me. I was making more than most CEOs –  why would I take a job for one-quarter of what I was making? We went  through every bit of savings we had. We eventually lost everything – the  house, cars, furniture – you name it.

“I used to have these conversations with God,” Brant continues. “I said  I would answer His call once I could support my family enough to do it.”  It was then that Brant realized that no matter what he did or how much  money he made, he was not the provider for his family. “God could have  been a little more gentle in letting me know,” he laughs. “I’d have been  happy with a burning bush. I guess He knew this was the only way to get  me to listen.”

Brant vowed to be faithful to his call. He says he watched one miracle  after the next until God had placed what he wanted in the palm of his  hands – a chance to pursue music. Brant recorded his debut solo CD  entitled “Circus Life.”  Soon he found himself sharing the stage with  Christian music giants like Jars of Clay and Newsboys. And in the midst  of booking more than 70 concerts during a six-month period, Brant was  invited to perform in Cheltenham, England, at the largest Christian  music festival in the UK.

His rise in the Christian music recording industry notwithstanding,  Brant says he is keeping his focus where it belongs. “He who giveth can  taketh away!” Brant notes with a wry smile. And, even as his former  colleagues call to entice him with “an offer he can’t refuse,”  Brant  says he continues to pursue God’s plan. “I’ve already accepted the offer  I can’t refuse.”

(Editor’s note: to learn more about this artist and his music, visit Brant Christopher.)

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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