NASHVILLE, TN – Modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty were among the musical guests at Proclaim 16, the NRB International Christian Media Convention, performing an updated version of the classic missions hymn, “Facing a Task Unfinished,” during the February 26 closing gala, just days after a worldwide event surrounding the song.
More than 5,000 churches in 100 countries joined in a global singing of the newly arranged hymn February 21, marking a focus on the urgency of proclaiming Christ among the nations.
“Facing a Task Unfinished” was written by China Inland Mission worker Frank Houghton around 1930 when persecution in China was rampant and China Inland Mission was seeking 200 more missionaries.
Facing a task unfinished, that drives us to our knees.
A need that, undiminished, rebukes our slothful ease.
We, who rejoice to know Thee, renew before Thy throne,
the solemn pledge we owe Thee to go and make Thee known.
Two years later, 200 new missionaries had set sail for China.
In the 1930s, a man “who understood the power of the hymn as much as anyone was Frank Houghton,” Keith Getty told attendees February 26 at the Proclaim 16 Closing Gala Dinner. He made the call for more missionaries “by writing a hymn,” he explained.
Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, commended The Gettys for their contributions to the modern Church.
“In pioneering modern hymns, they have helped countless believers hold on to and affirm historic Christian doctrine in the Church and beyond,” Dr. Johnson said in a press release prior to the Convention.
The Gettys, known widely for “In Christ Alone,” have reinvented the traditional hymn form by writing songs that teach Christian doctrine while crossing musical genres, connecting the world of traditional and classical composition with contemporary and globally accessible melodies.
Other songs The Gettys led the audience in singing included “In Christ Alone” and “My Worth Is Not in What I Own,” plus the hymns “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name."
Songs written by The Gettys are estimated to be sung by 100 million people in churches around the world each year.
They also led in worship at the inaugural NRB International Summit on February 25.
Michael W. Smith
Contemporary Christian artist Michael W. Smith led in worship on Wednesday, February 24, singing, among others, the song “He Will Never End,” inspired by “The Passion: New Orleans,” a two-hour television music event to be broadcast live from New Orleans by FOX on Palm Sunday, March 20.
Set in modern day, “The Passion” follows Jesus of Nazareth as he presides over the Last Supper, is betrayed by Judas, put on trial by Pontius Pilate, convicted, crucified, and resurrected.
The cast, including singers Trisha Yearwood, Seal, Chris Daughtry, and Smith, “sings powerful versions of some of today’s biggest pop songs arranged specifically to help tell the story of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life on earth,” said Executive Producer Adam Anders.
The soundtrack for the television event releases March 18.
Smith told the crowd at the Proclaim 16 Wednesday Worship Service that the more he looked into the songs selected, “It actually, really works.”
“I just filmed some scenes in New Orleans for a week, and it changed my life,” he said. “I was very careful about whether I should do it. I really felt it was a God thing for me.”
Smith also led the audience in singing some of his own songs, including “Draw Me Close,” “Above All,” and “Breathe."
Jordan Smith, the highest-selling artist to emerge from NBC’s Emmy Award-winning The Voice in 2015, sang at the Opening Session of Proclaim 16 on February 23.
The 22-year-old from Lee University in Cleveland, TN, has sold more than 1 million singles and made Voice history by landing four songs in the Top 10 – the most of any artist from the show.
NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson thanked Smith for using his journey on The Voice “to showcase excellence but at the same time glorify God.”
Smith explained to Proclaim 16 attendees that not long ago he was in college working two jobs to earn a business degree and had been a fan of The Voice since the show’s first season. He auditioned for the show in Nashville two years ago and was devastated because he did not make the cut. A year later an agent called to urge him to audition in Atlanta and he made it.
“It was a huge leap of faith for me to go back and audition for a second time,” Smith said.
After a season on the show, Smith said he was “surprised at how supportive the show is at encouraging you to tell your own story.”
“I got to sing so many amazing things and so many songs that represented me well,” including “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” which Smith sang at the Convention. He also sang “Over the Rainbow” and “Stand in the Light,” the first single from his debut album releasing March 18.
By Erin Roach and Tom Strode
Published: March 1, 2016