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Winter Jam Turns the Bridgestone Arena Into a Mega Church in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Winter Jam is one of Christian music's biggest events. The show which is running through late March of 2023 hit the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on February 03, 2023. This year's headliners We the Kingdom and Jeremy Camp are joined by a solid lineup of acts such as Andy Mineo, Disciple, Austin French, NewSong and showcasing for the first time Dove Award-winning new artist of the year Anne Wilson.

Jeremy Camp at Winter Jam 2023 in Nashville.

Winter Jam was founded over 20 years ago by the group NewSong. Their mission - which still holds true today - is to charge a low-ticket price to keep this general admission concert accessible to as many people as possible. In Nashville, for $15.00 per person fans were given a full night of entertainment packed with top-tiered talent, testimonies, prizes and more. The pre-show which started around 6 p.m. featured a DJ along with performances from Renee, Sean Be and Thrive Worship who preached about being on the winning team and having victory.

After a quick prayer the official concert kicked off with Austin French singing some of his hits such as "Born Again" and "Good Feeling". He shared that he came from a broken home and God saved him from that which was the perfect lead into "Jesus Can". Austin used lights and video that frequently integrated lyrics to give his passionate performance even more punch. This tactic was effective employed throughout much of Winter Jam. There was also a U-shaped platform that many of the artists utilized to get more up close and personal with the people.

Anne Wilson at Winter Jam 2023 in Nashville.

Newsong founded in 1981 was a sizable band with a horn section. They too had plenty of words of praise with their most powerful point being "Love Is Stronger". Next, Disciple took the stage clad in all black and they looked a bit threatening. Their sound on songs like the potent "O God Save Us All" and later the riveting "Radical" was heavy. We found ourselves dubbing them the Red Hot Christian Peppers as their head banging performance reminded us of that popular secular posse.

We The Kingdom at Winter Jam 2023 in Nashville.

Zane Black was introduced as the tour's pastor. He talked about the lifeline in surfing in context of John 3:16 which he broke down in sections for those in attendance who may not have known the famous passage. He stated that God saves you for something before leading an alter call and offering resources to those who made a commitment to Christ on Friday night.

Austin French at Winter Jam 2023 in Nashville.

Following Zane was Andy Mineo a Christian hip hop artist, producer, music executive and video director who rapped about the Lord. Next, Jeremy Camp an accomplished artist with 5 RIAA Gold Albums, 5 Dove Awards and more was about putting God first at the Bridgestone. He shared how Jesus delivered him from a period of darkness and brought him back into the light. Camp's set included fan favorites such as "Word of Life", "Keep Me In The Moment" and "Dead Man Walking".

NewSong at Winter Jam 2023 in Nashville.

Jason Roy from Building 429 admitted that he was one of those people who would quickly change the channel when ads for impoverished people came on. He confessed that he did not believe that a few dollars a day could make a difference. All that changed when he himself visited a poor country and met a family being helped by World Vision - it was literally like seeing a miracle. Jason's story was compelling and when audience members were asked to support a child on the spot quite a few did. Plus, when the paperwork was completed, the new sponsors got a pass that gave them access to an acoustic back stage worship session with We the Kingdom after the main concert.

Disciple at Winter Jam 2023 in Nashville.

World Vision who is presenting Winter Jam 2023 has been fighting poverty for over 70 years by working with communities, donors, partners and governments to create opportunities for struggling families. World Vision provides education, income generation and more so that every child can reach their God given potential. For $39.00 a month a youth will have access to basics such as clean water, food, heath care and schooling.

Renee at Winter Jam 2023 in Nashville.

Anne Wilson was given a warm welcome especially by the many young ladies in the crowd. The modestly attired artist sang glory to the Lord while reminding girls that their identity is in God - an important message in the confusing time we are living in. Anne also testified how Jesus carried her though the loss of her brother which led to a moving version of "No Place Like Home" and she ended her elevating spot light with a spirited "My Jesus".

We The Kingdom was formed at a Young Life camp in Georgia while leading worship together. The 2020 GMA Dove Awards New Artist of the Year has garnered 180M global streams to-date and has three singles on the top 10 charts on Christian radio including their hits "Holy Water," "God So Loved," and "Don't Tread on Me." We The Kingdom presented an engaging and energizing set that contained a few nods to secular music in the form of "Proud Mary", Johnny Be Good" and a bit of "The Chain" while telling the devil don't tread on me. "Holy Water" was a high point as We the Kingdom ended this praise party in a most joyful way.

The Bridgestone Arena was near capacity for Winter Jam 2023 in Nashville.

Related Links: For more information on WINTER JAM and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Winter Jam | World Vision | Bridgestone Arena


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