EDITOR’S NOTE: In recognition of the SBC’s October emphasis on the Cooperative Program, Baptist Press will provide readers with extra news and information detailing the scope and depth of the Cooperative Program and its impact for the Kingdom. Using vignettes and profiles of churches and individuals, as well as historical and ongoing accounts, our intent is to explain the Cooperative Program not just as a funding channel but as one of the critical ties that bind Southern Baptists in voluntary fellowship for cooperative ministries and missions.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In a first-of-its-kind venture, a Christian music group is recruiting people for missions while promoting Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program during its fall concert tour.
No Other Name, based in Nashville, Tenn., is using its “Go Tell Tour” with stops at Southern Baptist churches in 30 cities to challenge at least 150 people to go on a mission trip with them next summer. At the halfway point on the tour, the three-member group had about 100 slots filled.
Throughout their decade of singing together as No Other Name, the group had received inquiries from various parachurch organizations wanting to be promoted during their concerts. But nothing seemed to click.
Missions has been a longstanding passion for the group, and earlier this year they explored the idea of partnering with the International Mission Board (IMB) and the Cooperative Program (CP) division of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee to encourage people to pray for and get involved in missions.
“Southern Baptists have such a presence in what God is doing around the world, but sometimes that is lost on the average church member,” said Laura Allen, who is joined by her brother Sam and Chad Smith in No Other Name.
“It’s our desire to see people in Southern Baptist churches get a passion for missions. This is not to say that most people are not already involved in some way. We just want to fan the flame and maybe make someone think about something they’ve never thought about before,” she said.
Each church on the tour receives a packet before the concert containing jointly produced resources from the IMB and CP, and a missions thread runs throughout each concert, sometimes kicking off with a rendition of “Jesus Saves” while images of baptisms around the world scroll on a screen.
The song that sparked the idea for the tour, “Lead You to the Cross,” is the first single from No Other Name’s upcoming album on Curb Records. In March, the group traveled to the United Arab Emirates to shoot a video for the song on the sand dunes and in the city streets of Dubai. Then in June, messengers to the SBC Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky., heard the song and saw the video when No Other Name performed during the Cooperative Program’s report. The video also is included in this year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering promotional materials sent to SBC churches.
Craig Martin, managing director of IMB’s global communication team, helped craft the video to tell the story of Martha Myers, a missionary physician who was murdered at a hospital in Yemen by a Muslim extremist in 2002.
“Honestly we don’t get many bands that come and say they want to partner with us and use their whole tour to promote the work of our missionaries. That’s pretty amazing,” Martin said. “I was very excited when they offered up the idea. It’s been a joy to work with them because as Southern Baptists they really get who we are and understand what we’re all about.”
During the concert, Sam Allen tells about going on his first mission trip to Brazil. A woman in his church who was physically unable to go felt burdened to pay for someone else to go. The pastor contacted Allen about joining the missions team. If that woman had not sacrificed, Allen said he would not have been able to participate and see about 600 people come to faith in Christ.
Laura Allen recounted how God first stirred her heart for missions.
“I was one of those kids who would get excited when missionaries would come to our church and bring their slides,” she said. “I loved hearing their stories and learning how they were ‘making disciples’ in all nations.”
As part of the concert, Allen makes an appeal for people to give through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified giving plan, by tithing in their local Southern Baptist church, and she suggests buying one less Christmas present this year and giving the money instead to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
“Last year’s shortfall in the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering has given me a new burden. We’re closer than ever to sending the Gospel message around the world. We can’t slow down now,” she said.
A few months ago, No Other Name was on a program alongside Gordon Fort, a vice president at the IMB, who said a person can’t honestly tell God they’re willing to go wherever He calls if they don’t even have a passport.
“That struck a chord with us, and we decided to incorporate that concept in this tour,” Allen said. “Everywhere we go, we take a stack of passport applications that we print off the Internet, and lots of people have taken one. If we can encourage people just to take that small step, who knows how God will use it?”
John Kyle, director of Cooperative Program development with the Executive Committee, told Baptist Press he is excited about No Other Name’s Go Tell Tour because one of its goals is to raise awareness of the vast number of people in the world who still don’t know Christ as Savior and Lord.
“We forget how lost the world really is, whether it’s people who have never heard the Gospel, or people in America who have heard it and not accepted it,” Kyle said.
For a list of upcoming free concerts on the Go Tell Tour, visit noothername.com.
“I am really looking forward to our mission trip next summer,” Laura Allen said. “I can’t believe how many people have signed up already, and most of them have never gone on a mission trip before. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do.”
Erin Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press.