Thursday, September 16, 2010
Feel The Love: Pastor Chuck Smith and Love Song on Tour
By Brian Nixon
Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS) -- 1969 proved to be an interesting year. Not only did man first land on the moon, but Charles Manson was charged with murder, Pelé scored his 1,000th goal, Intel made its first one kilobyte chip, and the three-day music festival known as Woodstock helped shape our cultural landscape.
Today, 45 years later, the two catalysts of the Jesus Movement are united: Pastor Chuck Smith (considered by many to be the ‘father’ of the Jesus Movement) and Love Song (the first contemporary rock band to arise from the Jesus Movement.) They are together once again for a tour promoting music—and the gospel.
Senior Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque described the reunion best when he declared, “This is an historic event.”
Playing to over 12,000 people throughout the day on Sunday, both Pastor Chuck and Love Song received an amazing welcome from the wonderful audience at Calvary of Albuquerque.
When Pastor Chuck approached the podium on Sunday morning, cheers and a standing ovation welcomed him.
Pastor Chuck, now 83, began by stating that since suffering his stoke, he is more apt to get emotional. He proceeded—through tears—to give God the glory for what He has done through the Calvary Movement.
An eruption of appreciation followed his opening statements.
After a morning of worship music, provided by Chuck Girard and Love Song, and a message on Psalm 73, delivered by Pastor Chuck, folks were invited back later for an evening of music and a presentation of the gospel.
Under Chuck’s leadership, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa grew from just 25 people in 1965 to become one of the largest Protestant churches in the United States, with thousands attending weekly. Calvary Chapels are now found throughout the world, ministering to millions of people each week.
With such a rich history present in the minds of the people, there was much anticipation for the evening concert with Love Song and Pastor Chuck. As people filed into the sanctuary, excitement mounted with the anticipation to experience something familiar and refreshing.
The evening began with Pastor Chuck singing hymns of faith, songs that have ministered to him throughout his 50 plus years of ministry. It was a heart-warming time, with one getting a clear vision of Pastor Chuck’s love for God and God’s people.
Directly after Pastor Chuck, Love Song gave a full-length concert.
According to the press release, “Love Song began as a group of young, longhaired, hippie musicians who used their music, a mixture of rock and pop that was new and unique in Christian circles, to express their newfound faith in Jesus Christ.
“Their fresh, inspirational, and sometimes radical music helped blaze the path for what is now called contemporary Christian music.”
As music critic Stan Jantz, said, “In a world of imitators, Love Song has been an originator, the first domino that started the others going.”
Love Song reunited for their 2010 “Feel The Love” tour, bringing their timeless music and message to a new generation.
Love Song consists of Chuck Girard on keyboards, guitar, and vocals, Tommy Coomes on guitar and vocals, Jay Truax on bass and vocals, Bob Wall on guitar and vocals, and John Mehler on drums.
In the evening, their musical set was both an inspiration and just plain fun. They performed classic songs like “Little Country Church” and “Welcome Back.”
“Little Country Church,” co-written by Fred Fields and Chuck Girard, was an audience favorite.
Concerning the song, Girard explained, “Fred would bring me some amazing chord line with cool chords that I would never think of, and just leave me alone to supply the words and melody. The band was in Northern California, staying in a private home for the afternoon before a concert. Fred brought out the guitar, and began playing the chords to “Little Country Church.” I looked up on the wall and there was this sepia tone photo of a rural church that caught my eye. I began to sing "Little country church on the edge of town…”
“As I went on, I realized that what was shaping was really the story of Calvary Chapel. Calvary wasn't strictly a "country" church, but it was out in a field and I realized that this song represented the whole Jesus movement. It was about the open-minded attitudes of the pastors like Chuck Smith who had the courage to embrace the hippies and allow a new thing to happen in the church. They permitted new musical styles and didn’t judge the hippies for their look. They realized that God changed the heart.”
In addition to the concert, Love Song was promoting its newest box set release “The Book of Love,” an amazing 5 CD/DVD compilation of albums and live concert footage. This is a must for any music fan or person interested in the history of contemporary Christian music. The booklet alone is worth the price of the set.
The response from the audience was overwhelming positive. “Amazing and fun,” one 17 year old said, as he walked away clutching a signed CD box. Another, in her 30s stated, “I was a little too young to get into Love Song as a kid, but I was really impressed and look forward to listening to them with fresh ears.”
As from me, the Jesus Movement has framed my life. It began when I was born and has helped nurture my Christian life, so I am indebted to pastors such as Chuck Smith, Skip Heitzig, and others that helped shape the movement. Likewise, I am honored to know great musicians—like Love Song—that paved the way for other musicians (myself included.) They remind us to always point others to the source of all creativity: the Lord.
I firmly agree with Pastor Skip: it was an historic day—something that will live on in His Story.
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend. Share