Comm Training Opens Doors

September 23, 2014

Helping start spiritual conversations about Jesus is the heart of our mission. One way we do this is by equipping others with valuable skills for ministry. This summer, Keynote staff members Dana Russo and Denise DiSarro traveled to Bulgaria for a third installment of Keynote communication training.

On this trip Dana and Denise served as coaches to Bulgarian staff members who had gone through our training previously. These Bulgarian staff members conducted the bulk of the training.

University students came from Sofia and Varna to an English Camp hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ in Bulgaria (Agape) for two weeks of English lessons, career-starting tips, communication training and just plain fun. Two-thirds of the students were not believers. Because the camp was designed as an outreach, the curriculum was adapted to help foster spiritual conversation about Jesus.
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Summer Project 2014

August 26, 2014

“Take these open hands. I know that I can reach another with what I have. Make purpose live through me.”

These words, written by Tessa, one of the 2014 Keynote Summer Project students, became a theme of what the students learned and experienced during project.

The hope for Summer Project was to create tools to help start spiritual conversations about Jesus. In five weeks they created five! One of these was a music video using the song, Take These Open Hands, referenced above.

Other tools the students worked on were:

  • a survival handbook for college freshmen called Ramen with a Side of College
  • a video with live-action drawing to accompany a spoken word poem
  • a poster series with web-based interaction called Faded Words
  • a social media campaign that can be used by Cru movements across the country!

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Take These Open Hands

August 20, 2014

Check out this song and music video that our Summer Project students put together. The lyrics are below.

Take These Open Hands
Verse 1:
Take these open hands
Take them as you please
I’ve got this gift alone
It’s got me on my knees.
I’ve got something to share,
Words that I must speak,
My path it has been lost
Not laid in front of me
Take this open heart
Its blood has been released
I’ve lost its warmth inside
I’ve lost its steady beat

Verse 2:
Take these open hands
They’ve stunted all my speech
I’ve got one life and time
Bring the light from inside of me
I’ve got something to share
Words that I must speak
My path it has been lost
Not laid in front of me

Take these open hands
I know that I can reach
Another with what I have
Make purpose live through me

Purpose died on the night
I fixed my eyes on what was in my hands
Instead of where it came from

Bridge 2:
Layer 1:
Take this open heart
Reach down from above
Keep it in your love
Purpose be my song
I know there is some
Strength in letting go

Layer 2:
You are mine
You are in my love
Purpose is calling
Oh this I know

Layer 3:
“My name is in your love
Calling me
Oh this I know”

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Seeing the Unseen

July 24, 2014

Recently Zak and Becky Alwin, who perform as Keynote artist Rhymz Suhreal, returned to a Christian program for troubled youth. The youth are sent there by the state, some unwillingly. Some know it’s their last chance before they face more serious consequences. Zak shares:

In the small 70-seat chapel, a young man of about 14 sat right in front of our sound system – his knees pushed up against the grill of a subwoofer. I approached him and said, “Wow man, you get the courage award for coming up to the front row in front of the speaker!”As he looked up at me, his eyes rolled and he slowly said, “Oh crap, I think I remember you.”

I thought, “Okay, so much for connecting on a positive level, and glad I left you with such a great memory!” We started our show.

As anyone who has worked with youth can tell you, they can be a tough audience. So we carried on, through both attentive and inattentive moments. We wanted them to have fun with the music, while also hearing the stories and messages we shared. Despite our efforts to gauge their response we didn’t know if the Spirit was reaching anyone. Were they feeling like my man from the front row who shared his feelings earlier?

We ended our time with an impromptu question and answer session. We are glad we did. Some of the students asked questions which revealed a deep hunger and longing for the peace of Jesus.

One question in particular was, “What is your inspiration in your darkest times?” We shared how Christ has met us in our most dark and difficult times; even recent ones in our walk with Him.

We drove home, not knowing what to expect as we read the comment cards. We were amazed at how many of the 35 students responded positively to wanting to follow Christ … 18 in fact! Praise the Lord!!!

Many asked for prayer for their families – longing for better relationships with their parents – freedom from drug addictions, to make better choices, and for advice on how to follow Jesus and much, much more.

It was a great lesson for Becky and me to remember that despite appearances, even if people are not excited to see you, the Spirit is at work.

So, as Paul wrote, “…we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away (and people say ‘oh, crap’ when they see you; still…), our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen (like when kids may or may not be listening) but to the things that are unseen (like what the Holy Spirit is working inside of them). For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV – parentheticals are mine)

So friends, let us keep our eyes looking to and believing in that which is unseen! God is at work!

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Keynote Summer Update

June 27, 2014

On June 23, six eager and talented college students arrived in Indiana for the 2014 Keynote Summer Project. Over the last 20 years Keynote Summer Projects have equipped students to effectively communicate the gospel, taught them to use creative platforms to start spiritual conversations and challenged them to grow in relationship with the Lord. The same will be true this summer. However, these students won’t be in a band and they won’t tour around the country or overseas.

These students with a variety of skills and abilities (music, dance, film, spoken word and more) will work together to create resource tools – from scratch – to help start spiritual conversations about Jesus. Their projects could be anything from a short film or online video to a new and engaging outreach strategy.

Over the next five weeks there will be brainstorming sessions, Bible study, individual discipleship, communication training, fellowship, outreach opportunities and lots of time to work together on their projects. Please pray for the students and the Keynote staff members who are shepherding their hearts and giving leadership to the creative process.

International Communication Training
In July Denise DiSarro and Dana Russo will head to Bulgaria to assist with an English camp hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ. During the camp the students attending (likely unbelievers) will go through our communication training taught by Bulgarian staff members with coaching from Dana and Denise. Dana will teach our story curriculum which has been adapted for a secular audience. We look forward to what God will do in the hearts of the attendees!

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