Justin Barnett: Local band doing amazing things
In April 2015, I met a group of guys that would literally change my life.
We held a youth revival at our church, Jackson Heights, and invited a band called One Promise to be a part of the revival. At first, I was amazed by their music. I love contemporary Christian music, and they sang and played with skill and passion rarely seen. I was blown away. They were as good or better than anything on Christian radio. However, it was something else that impressed me the most — their hearts.
Talking with them after the revival service, I found out that most of the band members had a history of alcoholism or drug addiction. The more we talked, the more I connected with them, because I also have a past of alcoholism and drug addiction. They talked with me about the free concerts that they play all of North Carolina, and how they use their music as an avenue to minister to people that are battling alcoholism or drug addiction. I discovered that they would feed the homeless, hold fundraisers for addiction recovery ministries, assist people that had lost their homes and help folks in need in a variety of other ways as well.
They invited me to come to one of their “street ministry” events. These events are the heart of their ministry. In a nutshell, these events are free concerts with free food, but they are so much more! The band had set up a mobile stage on a vacant lot beside the Family Dollar in Pink Hill. Members of the band had taken time off of work to set everything up out in the scorching summer heat. Not only that, they had spent money out of their own pockets to buy hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks to feed everyone that came out. They did all of this just so they could share about God's love with others. Throughout the night they sung songs about love, hope, peace and joy. They shared about the salvation that's found in Jesus. By the end of the night, I knew that these were my kind of people! I felt led to support them and their ministry.
In time, we began doing “street ministry” events together. They would sing and play, and I would preach or share a testimony. Eventually, I became the pastor of this awesome band, and Jackson Heights OFWB Church and One Promise became partners in ministry. The band is huge part of our church family now. They assist with the LIVE Addiction Recovery Outreach, preach and teach when I am away, and lead worship at our Sunday evening contemporary worship services. We do around twenty street ministry events a year at various places around North Carolina to share with others about overcoming addiction and about the salvation that's found in Jesus Christ.
We have two events in Lenoir County this month, including this Saturday night at Pearson Park from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. We are doing this street ministry in partnership with our friends from Sons of Issachar Ministries in Kinston. We are going to fire up the grills, so there will be all kinds of great food along with the live music. As always, it's all free!
Our biggest event is on the last Friday night in July each year on the lawn in front of the Jackson Heights Piggly Wiggly. This year's Free Family Festival will be held July 26 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Over one thousand people have come out each of the last two years and joined in the fun! Again, this year we will serve free seafood, hot dogs, fries, deep fried Oreos and more. There will be a bounce house, fire truck and other fun things for the kids. We will be giving away around 150 brand new book-bags filled with school supplies. Everyone is invited! We want to bring everyone together and let everyone know about the love of Jesus!
If you'd like to learn more about One Promise or find out where the band will be playing this year, you can go to www.jacksonheightsofwb.com/one-promise.