America’s largest free Christian music festival took place over the weekend in Bentonville, Arkansas, with an estimated 40,000 people worshiping God through a variety of musical genres. At the 11th annual Amplify Music Festival, held Aug. 18 and 19, crowds enjoyed performances by Christian artists including Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Lecrae, and Rend Collective. They also heard Gospel presentations from evangelist Nick Hall.
Hall, founder of the outreach ministry PULSE, claims to have preached the Gospel to more than 300 million people. Earlier this year, the Minneapolis-based evangelist received criticism for featuring secular performer Chance the Rapper at an event.
Nick Hall: ‘Creativity Points to a Creator’
Before this year’s festival kicked off, Nick Hall addressed the ongoing debate about whether some musical genres are “too worldly” for church settings. Pointing to the diversity of worshipers, the evangelist said, “I think that for as many different people as there are on earth, there are as many different styles and expressions of creativity and humanity. I think creativity points to a Creator.” He added, “I think Christian music should make space for any expression that wants to point to the hope we find in Jesus.”
The source of the debate, Hall said, is people’s brokenness—and our tendency to worship people, programs, and structures rather than God. “We have to keep coming back to Jesus, what he said, what he did, and proclaiming the gospel,” he said. In our efforts to be relevant, Hall added, we can’t compromise on God’s truth.
“Every expression of faith, whether it’s meditation, prayer, whether it’s Bible study, disciple groups, evangelism, compassion, care, helping orphans and widows, or fighting for justice, I think all of these things are expressions that we see from the ministry of Jesus. But if it’s not anchored in Scripture, I think it’s really easy to make our faith about anything, and not the main thing.”
Nick Hall: Christian Hip-Hop Artists Are ‘Sincere and Devoted’
Hall, author of “Reset: Jesus Changes Everything,” said the world shouldn’t know Christians for their differences of opinion, whether those are about worship styles or “politics or views on vaccinations or masks.” The focus, he said, should be on whether “we’re following Jesus” and continuing Christ’s mission of spreading the gospel.