Starting in February, Freedom 423 will start hosting regular praise and worship concerts for the community, with the first concert geared specifically toward youth. The concert will be held in the …
Starting in February, Freedom 423 will start hosting regular praise and worship concerts for the community, with the first concert geared specifically toward youth. The concert will be held in the auditorium at Hillcrest Academy, which holds 550 people. Freedom 423 hopes to fill that auditorium with youth and put on a great show.
“It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be fast. It’s going to have lights, it’s going to have fog and all that fun stuff that a concert should have,” said Freedom 423 worship director Randall Gingerich.
On Saturday, Dec. 4, Freedom 423 held a fried mush and breakfast fundraiser to raise money for new equipment and other supplies needed to host the concert.
Although Freedom 423 is a completely separate organization, the group was inspired to form after seeing the success of Worship in the Park over the summer months.
“We wanted to continue forward with that vision and what they were trying to accomplish,” Gingerich said. “They wanted to get the community together in the spirit of worship and have some of the different churches join up in that effort to provide an opportunity for anyone who wanted to experience worship.”
Gingerich said Freedom 423 is gearing its first concert toward youth because of the high school students who showed up to the last Worship in the Park event.
“The last worship in the park we did, there ended up being a change in the venue at the last minute and we moved it to the YMCA in Wellman. We were kind of expecting the worst in terms of turnout, but we were surprised by the youth,” Gingerich said. “After the speaker and after all the songs were finished, a lot of the youth, for whatever reason that evening, stuck around and hung out for another hour. We did some extra songs for them. We really felt that they were engaging very well at this particular event. That helped us realize that we have a need to fill. That’s why this time around, we want to focus on the youth from start to finish and try to get a broader engagement from all of the different schools.”
Gingerich said Freedom 423 is hoping to engage students from all the area schools, including Hillcrest Academy, Pathway Christian School, Mid-Prairie and the homeschool students.
“Part of our process is to talk to the schools and connect with them to reach out to some of the kids and try to get them involved in the planning process,” Gingerich said. “We have a setlist of songs and we’re planning on sending out a survey that would allow them to pick from a list of songs to see which ones are their favorites. We want to get them thinking about this ahead of time.”
Gingerich is a musician who plays electric guitar for Upper Deer Creek Church every Sunday and considers worship an important part of his relationship with God.
“Worship for me is a very powerful way for me to connect to God and the spirit of God. There are so many different ways that you can achieve that. Worship is one of those things that you can really feel in your heart. It connects to the deepest part of yourself.”
Worship also has a unifying effect on the community — which is why Freedom 423 hopes to bring the community together for concerts throughout the year.
“There are always little differences that people have, maybe it’s a political difference or a denominational difference, but something that is really unifying is praise and worship,” Gingerich said. “A lot of the songs that we listen to on a Sunday morning or on the radio are the same songs that someone on the other side of the community listens to. Even though we don’t know each other, we can bond and connect over those songs.”
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