Seven years ago, Bethel Music left the confines of their church in Redding and took its ministry out into the world.
They found the music they had written for Sunday service had somehow become anthems. In places like Uganda, people were singing the songs. At an underground church in China, people were singing the songs.
On tour in Amsterdam, Bethel Music played to 4,000 people.
"And they are just out there singing their hearts out," says Jonathan Helser, a worship leader with the group. The Bethel Music Artist Collective (Helser is one of 17 members) has released six albums that have topped Bilboard’s Christian Albums chart (four won GMA Dove Awards). Its double-disc live recording was No. 1 on the overall iTunes Albums chart ( and No. 6 on Billboard’s Albums chart).
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That idea, that a local church has the capacity to change not only their community, but the world, is at the center of the Outcry tour, which stops Saturday at the Save Mart Center. Fresno is the first stop on the 14-city tour, which includes performances from Bethel Music, along with Elevation Worship, Mosaic MSC and Vertical Worship, along with speaker Christine Caine.
“Outcry has always been and will always be about the power of the local church,” said the tour's creative director Ryan Romeo, in a release announcing the tour.
"This year we found ourselves responding to a common question — where is the church going? Our answer this year is simple, and is ultimately the theme for the year. The church is going to the lost. The broken. The hurt of the world. Jesus has commissioned and chosen us to be his hands and feet. The church is going to wherever the world needs it most," he wrote.
And that can be regardless of where the tour ends up.
Before that show in Amsterdam, Hesler was recognized on the street by a kid who had been in rehab for a year and whose life had been saved by watching Bethel Music on YouTube.
At the show, Helser called out to the kid in the crowd.
"He’s at the front row and he’s just smiling, beaming. He led the city in a shout of hope over Amsterdam," he says.
"And it felt like thunder."
With Bethel Music
Meanwhile … Six other noteworthy events happening this week:
- Doc Martin 8 p.m. Saturday. Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero Ave. $10-$15. 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com
- Aaron Lewis 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. April 11. Visalia Fox, 300 Main St., Visalia. $44-$67. 559-625-1369, www.foxvisalia.org
- 123 Andrés 10 a.m. and noon Saturday. Bitwise South Stadium, 700 Van Ness Ave. $15. 559-500-3305, 123andres.eventbrite.com.
- California Classic Weekend 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Chukchansi Park, 1800 Tulare St. Race prices vary. www.californiaclassicweekend.com
- Big Hat Days 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Old Town Clovis. Free. 559-299-7363, clovischamber.com
- "The Fantasticks" 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. The Fresno Art Museum-Bonner Auditorium, 2233 N. First St. $25-$28. 559-289-6622, www.stageworksfresno.com