What is “gospel?” If you were to look this word up you would find that it means good news. Goods news for those who have been saved from sinful nature and will live a life of everlasting joy within Christ.
In the black community, gospel is about more than just being saved and living a life -- it's a time of song and giving love to those in your community. Gospel Fest, which is set up by the Black Student Organization (BSO), is a great way to introduce the people here at the university how the black church goes about doing gospel.
Given how it is Black History Month, it’s a great idea to want to expose people to this cultural experience. I think Gospel Fest did a really good job at this, mostly because those who came benefited from firsthand experience of the event and got to learn the history of gospel told by Rev. Dr. Gregory Jones-Blessing.
What I really liked about attending the Gospel Fest here at Valparaiso University is that it was a real life experience of how people in the black community practice church and live through the Lord with song, dance and, most importantly, the community in a way I have never experience before.
I loved the performance given by the numerous performers that were there. The thing I most enjoyed is that while being there, I really learned what gospel is about. It’s about community and those around you to be saved by God.
This year's Gospel Fest was a great start off for Black History month. I found it to be a great opportunity for those who are not familiar with how gospel is done to really experience it. Personally, I have to admit that before I went to Gospel Fest, my only experience with gospel and the black church was only what I saw on TV.
Going in, I did not know what to expect. Then I sat down and listened to the reverends speak and I heard the singers sing. Not only did they preach and sing, but they had the people in the audience participate whether it was just saying “Amen!” or clapping or singing along. People really had fun with it.
I’m only experienced with one way of doing church, as I think most people are -- especially here at Valpo, where the services are more traditional and almost like a routine. However, I think the Gospel Fest is a good way to showcase a new way of doing church, with the main difference being a call and response from the speakers that encourages active participation.
One of the best parts of the entire event was toward the end. The group of performers came and prayed with the people in the audience, and when I went up there to pray I truly felt the Spirit of gospel. I felt loved by people I didn't even know.
Overall, I have to say this year's Gospel Fest was very good and serves as a reminder that it is always good to try new things within your community.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.