SAN DIEGO (BP)–A group of teenagers from a Southern Baptist church about two hours north of San Diego brought their hip hop-style music and dance steps to Super Bowl weekend community block parties sponsored by the San Diego Baptist Association.
Known as the S.I.G.N. of the Times (Students In God’s Name), the group members hail from the California community of Apple Valley where they attend New Hope Community Church.
The group, started in August, was invited to perform at several community block parties where they danced, sang and shared their personal testimonies. It was, said group director Kari Collins, “a wonderful ministry experience.”
“This our very first evangelistic opportunity and the team is so excited,” said the 24-year-old Collins, who also serves as worship leader of the church. “The San Diego Baptist Association has been so helpful and encouraging. We’ve really learned a lot.”
S.I.G.N. of the Times is made up of seven teens, ranging in age from 13 to 18. In preparation for the San Diego trip, the group learned Scripture, prepared musical selections and practiced some energetic dance moves.
“I wanted the kids to understand how to worship God by sharing their talents,” Collins said. “We have a very Christ-centered performance.”
And a very hip-hop-type performance.
“At first we were kind of curious how people would react to what we do,” Collins said. “But our home church and the people here in San Diego have been very supportive. The energy definitely rubbed off at the block parties. It’s so much fun to watch the senior adults smiling and enjoying the performance.”
Team member Ceisley Jefferson, 13, said she joined the group to dance for the Lord. “I want to be a performer when I grow up and we get so much experience on the team,” she said.
Stevie Gary said he joined up with the team after performing in the church’s Easter and Christmas programs. “This has really been fun,” said Gary, 13. “We were out street witnessing over by the Pacific Ocean and it was great. We really weren’t nervous.”
Gary said the team wasn’t scared during its first performance because “you know God’s there and everything is going to be OK. We are there to perform for him.”
Collins said the team’s enthusiasm comes from the support of their 150-member church. The church, a non-traditional Southern Baptist congregation, is multiracial and S.I.G.N. of the Times reflects the church’s diversity with white, black and Latino members.
“It’s a wonderful church because we are so ethnically diverse,” Collins said. “The church is really open to new ideas and new forms of worship.”