More than 7,000 people surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ in this year’s Winter Jam. The contemporary Christian music concert kicked off its annual 41-city tour last month in Tampa, Florida featuring various Christian artists and bands including Andy Mineo, Anne Wilson, Austin French, Disciple, Jeremy Camp, Newsong, Renee, Sean Be, Thrive Worship and We the Kingdom, reports ChurchLeaders.com.
Zane Black, the tour’s pastor and featured speaker, revealed that 7,216 people came to Christ in just three weeks of the tour. As the concert was in full swing, a young girl came to him and told him her story of how “she had struggled with deep depression, self harm, had been abused as a child, but that night when she heard the message of Jesus reaching out to take hold of her, she placed her trust in Jesus and she felt instant peace.” He then advised her to get connected to a local church so she can be guided in her spiritual journey.
Each one of those numbers is a person and each one of those people are on a new trajectory of life. Only heaven knows the impact that God made in their lives. —Zane Black, featured speaker at Winter Jam 2023
“Each one of those numbers is a person and each one of those people are on a new trajectory of life. Only heaven knows the impact that God made in their lives,” Black said. “I think about my story and how that day that I trusted Jesus everything changed…And I think about all that God has done since then. It makes me wonder what God will do each one of those 7,216!”
After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, Christian artists are now back on the road to glorify God through their talents, encourage believers and share the good news. Winter Jam 2023 features Christian singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp who said the performers and audience know the importance of having a concert for the Lord.
“There’s more of an excitement when we play, there’s more interaction as well. I think when you’re shut down and can’t do anything for almost two years, I think that people are just so grateful,” said Camp. “I think the appreciation of not taking for granted the opportunity, people are starting to get that, and they’re stepping into these concerts going, ‘I’m not going to take for granted the fact we can be here tonight.’ That’s one of the things I’m sensing from people, for sure.”
Christian rock band Disciple joins this year’s Winter Jam Tour after nine years. “It’s a dream,” said Kevin Young, the band’s vocalist. “We did it for a couple of weeks back in 2014 and have been trying to back on it since. We were very surprised when they called us and asked us and very thankful.”
Winter Jam has featured top artists in Christian music, including Lauren Daigle, Hillsong UNITED, and TobyMac, and it has been a great launching pad for artists such as KING & COUNTRY, Francesca Battistelli, and Sidewalk Prophets. What started as a small, single concert in Greenville in the ’90s, it is now one of the largest annual tours in the world.
“The Winter Jam crowd has accepted us very well. It’s really wonderful,” shared Young. “Our favorite compliment at the end of the night is ‘I’ve never heard of you,’ and ‘You’re my new favorite band,’ and ‘I don’t like rock music, but I love you guys.’ You know, we love compliments like that.”
One of Disciple’s songs is called Promise to Live and it is about anxiety, depression, and suicide. After one of the band’s performances, a mother approached Young and told how that song had a huge impact on her 14-year-old daughter who attempted suicide. Her child attended the show and heard the lyrics:
“You can’t imagine. Why all this happened. Don’t close your eyes. I vow to hold you. Until you break through. Just swear you’ll stay alive. All your death will be resurrected again. With your hand on my heart. Make me a promise to live. A promise to live.”
Winter Jam 2023 is a successful music tour every year. Black explained, “No matter what band or what type of exciting elements are put into the show, the gospel has always been front and center. Winter Jam has made the most important part the proclamation of the gospel and giving people an opportunity to respond to Jesus.”