Chorale 2022 Spring Tour Recap
By Megan Hutchinson
(Photo Credits: Jesse Huang)
It is no surprise when God works in the lives of believers. The theme for the FBBC Chorale’s spring tour was “Stand Firm,” a powerful reminder to be equipped with the full armor of God and hold fast to our faith during times of uncertainty and peril. It was no accident that the first two stops on the tour happened to be churches who had been studying the same concepts in Ephesians 6. When their pastors previously planned their sermons, they had no idea the Chorale would be themed around the same text. How amazing and omniscient God is! Even in little coincidences like that, the Lord showed His power and presence as the group headed to Michigan to spread His message with their voices.
The Chorale set off to Michigan on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. The group consisted of the Chorale members, Dr. Christopher Ellis, Bethany Stilwell, and the shuttle drivers (Dr. Charles Ellis and Charlie Carter). Following a brief stop for lunch, they arrived at Good News Baptist Church around 6 p.m. After fellowship and a wonderful meal provided by the church, Faith people were split up into different homes of church members. The students had the opportunity to connect and interact with these families, who generously provided breakfast for the students and returned them to church to perform at the morning service. The congregation expressed their gratitude and encouragement, all agreeing that God blessed them through this ministry of music.
After lunch, the team was back on the road for a couple of hours until they reached their destination of First Baptist Church in Goodrich, Michigan. The crowd was vibrant and ready to receive God’s Word through the students’ voices. Following a time of fellowship with the congregation, the team enjoyed another meal graciously provided by the church. One of the best parts about the trip was getting to know other members of God’s household in different churches around the nation.
Leaving bright and early, the Chorale traveled to Bibles International (BI) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There they toured the facility, experiencing the heart behind Bible translation work. The staff at BI embodied a sincere love for the gospel and a genuine desire to see a world of people groups embrace God’s Word in their native languages. The Chorale offered a blessing of singing to lift their spirits and urged them to keep up the good work that God has called them to do. After lunch and a heartfelt devotional given by Jacob Stilwell, the team headed to Continental Baptist Missions (CBM) in Rockford. The ministry work being done at CBM is incredible and encouraging to learn about. Missionaries spend hours designing and building churches across the nation to further the spread of the gospel. Their heart is on their sleeve, and their passion is clear. Their love for God and His Word was such an encouragement to the whole team. After a tour and time of singing, the Chorale drove a couple hours to their hotel in Davison, Michigan.
Around 10 in the morning, the team arrived at Genesee Christian School in Burton to sing during the chapel hour. This performance included a drawing for Faith gear, a testimony from senior Gracelynn McCoy, and a time of questions/interaction with the high school students. Afterward, a lunch was graciously provided by the school to show their gratitude to Faith’s ministry. The rest of the day was a time of bonding and relaxation for the Chorale as they prepared for the busy days ahead.
The first stop was Faith Baptist School in Davison, Michigan. After ministering through song, the Chorale had the opportunity to listen and give advice to the school’s small-group choir. Although their songs were new to most of the FBBC students, both music ensembles gathered on stage for a time of worship together. Later, the ensembles spent time in fellowship over donuts and coffee until the Chorale took off for The Baptist Church of Hadley. Both lunch and dinner were generously provided by the church, and most of the afternoon consisted of rest and relaxation before the concert that night. Many Faith students were welcomed into the homes of Hadley church members, and it was such a blessing to get to know them!
The day began later than normal, granting everyone a chance to sleep. The team unloaded at Lincoln Lake Camp, where the staff provided meals and games. The concert that evening took place at First Baptist Church in Newaygo. Numerous visitors expressed their thankfulness for the hope and encouragement they received from the message of the songs. Students and attendees stuck around long after the concert to engage in conversation and enthusiastic fellowship with one another.
The Chorale left Lincoln Lake early the next morning and headed for Calvary Baptist Church in Midland to spend the rest of the day at the MACS (Michigan Association of Christian Schools) Competition. Some of the students had the privilege of judging: Logan Scheps, Emma Pedersen, Dori Linscott, and Jacob Stilwell. While some students served by cleaning, the majority of the Chorale joyfully cheered on the Michigan students while also representing Faith. A display was set up where people could learn more about FBBC, and most of the Chorale members answered questions and gave information during their interactions with the Michigan students. During the closing ceremony, the Chorale sang two beautiful songs: “My Hope Is Jesus” and “Arise My Soul, Arise.”
After a long week, the team took off for Iowa on Saturday morning. They arrived safely back at Faith around 4:30 p.m. The next day was their final performance at Maranatha Baptist Church in Grimes. A handful of familiar faces, including fellow Faith students, were present, and the group listened to the morning sermon before performing a shorter, uplifting final concert. A bittersweet sigh of relief was released after they finished their last song, “Do Not Be Afraid,” a final plea to remember that God is an ever-present help when our hope and strength are failing. Dr. Christopher Ellis, director of the Chorale, did a phenomenal job leading the group the entire week. His love for God and desire to reach the lost was clearly on display for all to see. During the tour, Christ was reflected through Dr. Ellis, and all the students admire him for his strong leadership and support. Constantly, he reminded them of their heavenly purpose, always giving glory to God and inspiring fellow believers.
People are tired. They are worn down and weary from the weight of this world. The solution? People need Jesus. Those who already know Jesus and believe Him as the Savior have a job to do: reach the world. This world desperately needs to hear the message of Christ and His love. The work that Faith’s Chorale did over Spring Break is merely a sliver of the work being done around the globe. However, the task isn’t finished. The battle is constantly being waged, and those of the faith must stand firm and hold true to the Word of God. The FBBC Chorale will continue to spread the good news and hope of God and His Word through singing.