During a recent phone interview with Jeremy Camp, he stated that he was on his way to a rehearsal for his upcoming tour with his band and fellow musicians/ministers Carlos Whittaker and John Mark McMillan.
The first-time-ever ensemble started a national tour that will make a stop in Bemidji at the new Bemidji Regional Event Center. The event is slated to start at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, as the first concert event in the newly opened BREC.
The concert is the debut of the new entertainment facility with seating for about 6,000 patrons for groups seeking to perform in larger venues. For Camp, the BREC will be set up to hold up to 3,500 people. Tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com.
All three of the performers are well-known in the Christian music/Christian ministry genre of popular music and have a faithful following ranging from young people to seniors.
Camp believes that he has the answer as to why Christian music is surging in popularity with today's young people. He feels that it's a desire to know that there is something more out there than just things; it is the promise of hope and comfort in following the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"I always tell people, 'Jesus never said to follow his disciples; he said follow me,'" Camp said. "There are Christians out there who are setting a bad example by their actions and others see that and say that they don't want to be Christian. It's hypocritical. We are not perfect, we are going to make mistakes and that is why we need to stay faithful to the Lord and follow his example and that's what people are starting to wake up and realize."
After studying at a Bible college for two years, Camp realized that he was being called to do bigger things than be a country pastor like his father. His calling was to make music and take those messages of God's love to the country and then around the world. Camp experienced the death of his first wife from ovarian cancer shortly after their marriage and said his faith carried him through those trying times.
"Most of my lyrics are experiential both from my life and those around me, how they have overcome tremendous obstacles," he said. "My personal relationship with the Lord is my motivation; God speaks to my heart in some way and comforts me and that's what I write about."
When asked if he looks to other Christian musicians for inspiration, Camp mentioned Steven Curtis Chapman, who is not only talented but lives a Christian life and stays strong through his trials. Camp also mentioned that his agent put together this tour and included Whittaker and McMillan, who are both noted for their ministry.
There are worship aspects to this tour and Camp feels that the three all have the same heart and the same desire to spread the word.
An important part of youth ministry today revolves around singers like Camp, said Liz Van Houten of Howell Community Church, a member of the Great Commission Movement. Van Houten and her husband, Ron, minister to young people and both said that the youth today are looking for guidance.
"Jeremy Camp speaks from the heart," Van Houten said. "He tells us how to open our hearts after it's been broken and trust again. Youth are coming to us in greater numbers because they are looking for something to believe in again; Camp reaches the lost in a personal way."
Camp admitted to being excited to visit and perform in a brand-new arena and also to have the opportunity to share his ministry in a college town nestled in the northern Minnesota. He said that his full backup band will be on stage with him, but his wife will not be appearing on this tour as she is back home with their girls.
For the people who are coming to his concert, Camp asked that "they do not shy away from bringing friends who are not Christians to the worship night."
"It is still a powerful tool to show that this is real, this is something to believe in," he said.