Matt Bayless wondered how an Awaken Worship concert would be received as he walked into a beautiful, stately Catholic church in Poland. There was time to set up after the last Mass but no time to warm up.
Bayless and the Awaken Worship team planned an upbeat program of worship songs.
Partnering with Proem Ministries, a Southeast Missions partner that shares the love of Christ with young people in Poland, the worship team put on concerts in a different community every day with Exodus, the Proem worship team. Their goal was to encourage people and share the Gospel.
Bayless, who leads Southeast’s Worship Arts Ministry, thought the crowd of some 500 people would leave when Mass ended and a different, new crowd would come for the concert.
Not so. Those who attended Mass stayed in their seats. The priest took a seat in the front as the team began playing “Light My Way.”
“We’d been praying for people in the moment,” Bayless said. “The Holy Spirit showed up.”
The crowd stood and clapped to the beat. Everyone worshiped together.
When the concert was over, the priest asked for one more song and had the whole church join him in praying a blessing.
“Each night, we were able to share the Gospel through song and saw people experience Jesus for the first time,” said Southeast Worship Associate Anna Houze. “One night an 11-year-old boy came up to me with his family to tell me that during our time of worship, he decided to give his life to Christ for the first time. We know that there were probably several stories like that. We may never see the fruit of that, but we know God was working powerfully and His Spirit moved in a mighty way.”
An elderly woman came up after a concert and grabbed two Polish women on the Proem team. With tears in her eyes, she thanked them for coming. “I never experienced this before,” she said.
During a concert at a rehab center for those battling addiction, the team set up in a small room. Several on the Proem worship team shared their stories. One told of his own battle with addiction and how God restored him.
At the end of the concert, a man with a big beard made his way up to the stage to give Bayless a bear hug and kiss on the cheek.
“Thank you so much!” he said.
Houze loved every day in Poland.
“A win for me was being able to see the global expression of the church and being able to spend so much time with our Proem family,” she said. “It was humbling and inspiring to see how they are reaching those who don’t know Jesus.”