Cross International, a Florida-based charity serving the poor in more than 30 countries worldwide, has launched a special musical outreach called “Harmony of Hearts” to make U.S. churches more aware of Christian social outreaches taking place overseas. The program, described as a tribute to Isaiah 58 and 1 John 3:16, uses a blend of music, video and dramatic Scripture readings to inspire and involve American churches in service to the poor.
Harmony of Hearts staff members help church choirs, praise bands and worship teams organize special anthems, musical presentations or mini-concerts that highlight scriptural calls to compassion and provide church members with specific, tangible ways to become involved. For example, the presentations can be done to raise funds to benefit a specific area, like Haiti, Africa, The Philippines and Latin America, or for a special project, such as feeding programs, medical outreaches, home building and safe water distribution. “As a church worship leader myself, I know that music and song have a tremendous power to convey God’s truth and to bind Christians together in one heartbeat of purpose,” says Chuck Burge, director of Cross International’s Harmony of Hearts program and an associate music minister at New Hope Community Church in Ft. Lauderdale. “That’s why this outreach is so important – it can raise awareness about the church’s role in serving the poor like nothing else can.”
To make the program as flexible and easy to implement as possible, Cross provides a variety of professionally-produced support materials.
These resources include:
• A CD of dramatic Scripture readings, including versions from award-winning actor James Earl Jones.
• Two music videos, including Chris Rice’s “Go Light Your World” and “Believe,” a powerful new ballad written by Jennafer and Brady White. These can be used as a visual backdrop (shown as choirs sing the songs) or they can be played without accompaniment.
• Sheet music for these songs arranged for praise bands and choirs.
How churches can get involved
“I understand the needs and pressures music directors are under,” says Burge, who has 25 years of experience in church music. “I am here to work alongside church music ministers, providing whatever assistance they need to create a successful program.”
Churches can also partner with their counterparts overseas to help the poor using Cross International’s existing infrastructure. A longtime member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Cross has been recognized by Forbes and The Chronicle of Philanthropy as one of the largest and most successful Christian relief agencies in America.
Cross provides program management for musical events that benefit a specific cause (ending hunger, providing medical care, building houses for the homeless, etc.). It can even organize a specific project for a church to sponsor, such as building a well for a poor village in the Dominican Republic or providing care for orphans in Mozambique and Haiti. Churches can be assured that every penny of their donation helps the poor because Cross will supervise the program until completion and supply a full follow-up report on how funds were administered.
“This is an opportunity to show people what the church is already doing. It is triumphant work. We don’t get to hear about it enough,” Burge says. “God has a heart for the poor and he is urging us to worship him by helping them.”
For more information on the Harmony of Hearts program, visit www.CrossInternational.org/Music or contact Chuck Burge at CBurge@CrossInternational.org or 800-391-8545, ext. 174.