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WWJD? musical creators urge youth to take a stand

NASHVILLE, Tenn.(BP)–WWJD? — the initials that appear on arm bands and clothing to prompt answers to the question, “What would Jesus do?” — are the basis for a new musical resource that takes the simple question from the century-old novel, “In His Steps,” by Charles Sheldon, and puts the message in contemporary form for youth.
Genevox, a music imprint of LifeWay Christian Resources, is releasing later in January the musical for youth created by John Chisum and Nancy Gordon of Nashville, Tenn. Chisum is a writer/producer for ThreeFold Music and Gordon is affiliated with Mother’s Heart Music.
At a premier presentation for LifeWay employees in the Jan. 8 chapel service, Chisum said, “When we entered the project, I did not realize myself the depth of the [WWJD?] question. We see it on bracelets, bumper stickers, caps, everywhere — and it’s so easy to dismiss it. But when you start trying to write songs and concepts and dialog around that question, it begins to work inside you.
“As we asked ourselves that question over and over and over, we were drawn back to the cross. He would give his life. He would do again for us what he did on the cross. … He would come with love. He would come with an understanding of the common plight that we all suffer, the sin of this world,” Chisum said.
“We didn’t want to present a musical that would say, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that.’ … We wanted them to see a portrait of the life of Jesus, through suffering, surrender, sacrifice and service.”
Gordon said in beginning to work on the musical “we felt drawn not to preach to youth but to create something that gave them a platform to give a radical call to Christ. We see so many negative words about our youth … but I know that we’ve got lots of young people who have made incredible sacrifices for the name of Christ and who have decided to live a radical, committed life to Christ. We made that platform for these young people.
“Our hearts as writers and creators were to see this work become an experience whereby those who perform it and those who observe it go away and ask the question, and as they find the answer, live that answer.”
Don Schlosser, Genevox music editor for WWJD? said the musical “asks questions our culture faces without offering cliches or easy answers. The message is designed to bring listeners to the conclusion that the actions of Jesus can and should be the model for our lives.
“Musically, youth will experience sonic morphing at its finest, along with active on-stage drama. We believe they will respond to this spiritually provocative production,” Schlosser said.
WWJD? is a resource that incorporates a journal with devotional thoughts in a choral book. It may be obtained by calling 1-800-GENEVOX.