Bethel Music, the contemporary Christian music group based in Redding, Calif., is known for its spontaneous worship style and countless online worship videos streaming all over the world.
“I think God’s going to use healing in America to lead so many people to Jesus,” shared Lindy Conant, who recently started working with Bethel.
“It’s seeing the demonstration of God that causes salvation, too, which is the greatest miracle. It is someone giving their soul to Jesus and surrendering their life to Jesus. That’s what I love about Bethel — they create space for God to move in miracles.”
Conant and two other worship leaders – Josh Baldwin and Bethany Wohrle – were recently interviewed ahead of their final night of their tour in New York City and on the heels of their second annual “Heaven Come Conference” in Dallas, that had close to 6,000 people in attendance and many described as “life-changing.”
Third Great Awakening
The group had just left Boston, where they said 800 people flooded to the front to give their lives to Jesus at the end of the meeting.
“People were so hungry,” Baldwin said. “It does feel like people are re-upping their commitment to the Lord. It’s been powerful every night…we would stop [in worship] and they would lead.”
It’s something the worship leaders are used to experiencing when they travel to other nations, but they said they’re starting to see that kind of hunger for God’s presence in the United States.
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“It felt like we were tapping into an old well,” Conant passionately said. “We need another Great Awakening, and it came out of this region for the Second Great Awakening.”
Baldwin, who sang his new single “Stand in Your Love,” which comes out next month, backed her up.
“It does feel like we’re on edge, like something’s about to break and there’s about to be another big awakening,” Baldwin said. “I feel like the younger generation – millennials – sometimes can get a bad rap, but the thing I love about it is that they are all-in on whatever they’re going for…and the ones that are going after the Lord they’re so passionate about it that I feel like that’s what changes our nation – their passion and their hunger.”
Conant said: “It’s like Jesus needs to be re-introduced to a whole generation, like He’s not mad at you. He’s not up there waiting to strike you with a lightning bolt. He is a God of love. For God so loved the world that He sent His son, and now Jesus wants to send us with that same love to reach a generation…that’s where I go we’re all missionaries…Jesus said as the Father sent me so I am sending you…OK, well, that’s pretty gangster if that’s the truth.”
An encounter with Bethel
And that’s been one of Baldwin’s favorite things about the tour. He sees it as a “reintroduction to the gospel and Jesus,” where people can expect to experience “the presence of the Lord.”
Wohrle added that people can expect “their lives to be changed” after an encounter with Bethel.
Bethel is known for having extended time for worship, where the singers and band members will break into spontaneous worship either at the beginning, end or middle of the song. For those unfamiliar with spontaneous worship, it may seem like it’s choreographed or planned, but that’s just a testament to how easy it is for Bethel.
Although he grew up in the church, Baldwin said the risk of spontaneous worship never really goes away, but he added he “feels more comfortable” in it now “knowing that the Lord’s going to meet you there.”
Wohrle added that Bethel’s culture makes it a place where that’s possible.
“I think coming from Bethel, and having the leadership that we have, gives us the authority to step into things that we would never do on our own, and so I feel like the way Brian and Jenn, and Bill Johnson, all of the worship leaders, and even going through ministry school, too, they give you the freedom to take a risk and to step out in faith,” Wohrle said. “If you fail, you fail, and you just start back over again and try again.”
One of the things Bethel’s founder, Bill Johnson, says is, “I’d rather have wildfire than no fire” in response to people who criticize Bethel or have been burned by the charismatic or supernatural movement.
Conant, who recently started working with Bethel, said she was drawn to the “unapologetic presence of God” and “the amount of people that get healed” in God’s presence.
For her, spontaneous worship can only happen if you don’t fear man more than you fear God. It’s something Conant said is all throughout the Bible, but is often overlooked: “The whole purpose is to illuminate Jesus.”
And all three leaders agreed that spontaneous worship is more of a team sport, including each one of the musicians, not to mention the reaction from the crowd, more so than just one person. They’ve seen spontaneous moments speak to people in ways that scripted sermons never could.
“I think God’s going to use healing in America to lead so many people to Jesus,” Conant added. “It’s seeing the demonstration of God that causes salvation, too, which is the greatest miracle – is someone giving their soul to Jesus and surrendering their life to Jesus – that’s what I love about Bethel is they create space for God to move in miracles…”
Next year, Bethel’s third “Heaven Come Conference” is happening at two locations, Los Angeles in May and Dallas in August, with Pastors Jentezen Franlkin and Steven Furtick.
“I’m excited to see what that’s going to do in the United States,” Wohrle said.
“We are ripe for a Great Awakening,” Conant said. “There are so many stadium events now. It was not this way 10 years ago … there really is something happening, and I think Jesus is leading it … filling stadiums, I think it moves the heart of God and it causes people to go, ‘What is happening?’”