expressive worship

Be the Somebody

Eighteen years ago my wife and I went to Kenya. We had been invited to come and see the work an organization was doing there.

Of course we did the “touristy” things – went on a safari trip, took an overnight train ride, experienced the Indian Ocean. But the thing that had the biggest impact on me was an 8-hour trip we made on dirt roads to a little village.

I’ll never forget the pride those villagers had when they showed us how they had planted crops, dug a clean well for themselves, and had built schools and churches made out of dung (literally!).

When we saw all the needs there were in the area and how much of a difference could be made with the right help, I thought “Somebody has to do something about this!” That’s when I decided to start working with charities who make a difference in the world.

I began to look for artists who felt the way I did – that “Somebody” needed to do something, and who thought maybe that “Somebody” might be them. And I would help them get partnered up with a charity so they could appeal to their audiences to give ongoing support where help was really needed.

I would go out and visit artists, helping them with their appeal, giving them encouragement. It didn’t matter if it was a weekend warrior, an emerging band, an indie artist, a professional singer…. someone who played small churches, big venues, coffeehouses, toured on the road, or played in their hometown…. if they were onstage in front of people at least 20 times a year, they could qualify to partner with a charity!

So what kind of artists did I work with? Well, I remember one time as I was driving to find one of the artists, I checked their event schedule, and saw I was going to be watching them do a concert at a vacation/travel mobile home park. I thought “holy cow, this is interesting!” I wanted to support the artist, but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

They gave their appeal that night to about 85 people in the trailer park – 5 kids were sponsored. Not much, you might say. But since that time that same group has gotten over 5,000 kids sponsored in the last decade or so, by doing small dates, by being persistent, and by appealing to each audience, one concert at a time.

But here’s the crazy thing! Not only have more than 5,000 kids been given the chance for a better life because of them; but this artist group has had financial tour support they never would have gotten if they hadn’t cared enough to sign up as artist associates with a charity!

How about major tour artists? Absolutely! I’ve worked with them, too. And some of them have gotten thousands of people helped in a single event. WinterJam 2010 saw over 10,000 orphaned children sponsored through appeals made during the event.

But even better than those big numbers is a story I heard one artist tell. He had done his appeal and went back to his table after the concert. A woman was standing there crying. When he asked if he could help, her reply was “you already did – I was one of those kids; YOU CHANGED MY LIFE!”

In the years since Kenya, I have continued to look for musicians who feel the way I do. My Artist Tour Support page is continually updated with details about the programs I work, such as Holt International, India Gospel League, World Vision Canada, and more.

In these times of high prices, bad economies, and a shifting music industry, it’s a good idea for artists to find as many streams of revenue as possible. Why not use your passion for helping others, speaking from the stage you’re already on, to earn some financial support for your music?

And in the meantime, you could be the “Somebody” who does something to help!

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Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson, world renowned Live Music Producer, helps musicians and worship teams develop songs into “unique worship moments.” His Live Music Methods help create freedom in the room so your congregation can express their worship more freely and passionately than ever before! Tom has worked with nearly every genre from rock to pop to Christian Gospel, impacting major artists and worship leaders such as Jars of Clay, Casting Crowns, NewSong, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli, Todd Agnew, Phillips, Craig & Dean, Parachute Band, The Martins, plus a multitude of independent artists.

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