Music opens doors for ministry

The enthusiasm of worshippers in India fueled the desire members of the band Between 2 Thieves already had to pour themselves into ministry.

“They worship God whole-heartedly even though they could be killed for it,” Christina Owen said. “When we got in the church the spirit was moving so strongly. You saw hands going up and people praying … the intensity of it was just phenomenal.”

Christina, her husband Chuck and friend Matt Kennedy flew out of India with a pledge in their hearts to make music their ministry.

“We led worship for the crusade in India and came back realizing that this is what we were being called to do,” Chuck said. “Experiencing the word and worshipping are not two different things. The word inspires worship.”

The three, along with friend Bob Stoves, had been playing together off and on for eight years while members of Bethel Baptist Church. Stoves couldn’t make the trip to India because his brother had just passed away from cancer. But when the group returned from the trip, they created the band Between 2 Thieves.

“For me it was part of a healing process after the loss of my brother and has grown into what it is now –– a desire to reach people with our talents.”

They now reach people at youth events around the Southeast and even released a CD Oct. 11 during an event at Fellowship of Faith, the church they now attend.

Matt said appearing at an event in Panama City drove the point home for him even more. He said he returned home feeling disappointed in what they had done musically.

“I remember getting home and feeling disappointed, but then, I got an e-mail from a 13-year-old kid who was apparently pretty broken when she came to the show,” Matt said. “She poured her heart out about her family situation and how God changed her right on the spot.”

“I realized then that there’s no telling what he’s (God’s) doing behind the scenes,” he said.

Chuck said as a youth leader he often became intensely frustrated with bands that would come in to play an event and immediately pack up and leave.

“We didn’t want to do that,” Chuck said. “We want to be seen as a ministry first and a band second.”

Bob agreed that the goal was never to be a well–acclaimed band but that releasing the CD provided new opportunities to get God’s message out.

“That has been huge because we were never big on making a CD but its allowed us to be where we can’t be and plant seeds in people’s hearts through the lyrics,” Bob said.

The band plays Oct. 24 at Lay Lake Baptist Church.