What does it mean to communicate the message of Jesus? For Heartbridge, a ministry of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) based in Hawaii, it might mean a man breakdancing, a woman doing a hula dance, or perhaps someone reading a poem.
“Our main purpose is to speak to a generation using the arts,” says Jeff Samuels, a member of the Performing Arts Discipleship Training School (DTS) run by the Heartbridge team.
Heartbridge was formed several years ago by Maria and Kenny Jackson, who work at the YWAM campus in Hawaii. They have used the parable of the prodigal son to proclaim God’s love, expressing this through dance, acting, song, and other art forms.
Recently, a new Heartbridge group was launched in Amsterdam, Holland. DTS teams from both groups have been performing here in London during the Olympics.
After several years of performing the Prodigal Son production, the Kona team has developed a new show format. Instead of one main story, the new show now being performed in London venues consists of several individual pieces created by members of the group, expressing their personal stories in different art forms. One member might do a break dance, while another reads poetry or sings a song. This format allows the group to be more flexible. If they need to make their show longer, they can add pieces to it, or they can cut it shorter if needed without cutting a storyline half way through. There are also several longer dances that have been choreographed by staff members, and a six minute drama named “Pilgrim’s Purpose” that can be inserted into the programme at various points.
When not performing, the Heartbridge team members have spent time praying and sharing the message of Jesus around London. Some of the team members saw a man juggling in a park and decided to chat with him. As it turned out, he was a bartender and suffered from kidney problems. The team prayed for him and were about to leave, but they sensed that they should stay longer. They returned and explained to this man God’s desire to know him, and he responded to their message.
Besides reaching out to people on the streets, Heartbridge is also making an impact on those within the church. “Many Christians in the UK have stopped going to church,” notes team member Midge Kim. “We want to encourage them to continue to follow Jesus.”
Whether performing at various venues around London, or sharing their faith on the streets, Heartbridge is using the performing arts as a means of planting seeds of faith around the city.