LOOKING BACK AT 17 YEARS OF MINISTRY – Prior to 1995, Spirit West Coast as a ministry and organization did not exist. In late 1995, five couples formed a non-profit ministry organization with an intention to move forward by faith and present a Christian music festival at Laguna Seca in the summer of 1997. At the time of conception the new organization had zero money and a very small group of people enlisted to “make it happen”. It was obvious from the beginning that God had his hand on the ministry.
1997 year # 1 – Over 10,000 people gathered at Laguna Seca in Monterey to experience the first Spirit West Coast August 1-3. For most of those in attendance, including the staff, it was the first Christian music festival they had ever attended. Miraculously, the event did not lose money and many were impacted spiritually. SWC has never been in debt and has never had to borrow money.
What has been accomplished through the unique ministry of Spirit West Coast?
1. There have been 23 festival’s since 1997; 15 in Monterey and 8 in Del Mar.
2. Well over 250,000 people have passed through the gates to not only experience strengthened relationships with friends and family but, more importantly, the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. Over 10,000 people have made first-time salvation decisions and recommitments…10,000! God does great things when His people come together.
4. Over 11,000 children have been sponsored through Compassion International; not just a push-back on poverty but also instigating spiritual new-births in countries around the world.
5. Thousands of festival friends and believers in the cause have personally engaged in serving to make SWC happen, experiencing a sense of ministry accomplishment and unique spiritual purpose.
Southern California 2004 – After the 2002 Monterey festival, with a growing desire to spiritually impact people from greater distances including Arizona and Southern Nevada, the SWC leadership team felt led to present a similar festival in Southern California. The search for a property began and on Memorial Day weekend 2004 the first ever SWC Del Mar was presented at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County. The Del Mar festivals would have equal impact to the Monterey events in all aspects and measurements of success including spiritually.
Volunteers – It takes 800-900 adult volunteers working in 40 different areas of service to make each festival fully functional. Dozens, if not hundreds, faithfully return year after year to give of themselves so others may receive.
Now how about 2014?
Here’s what we’re planning. There will be two, one-day festival in 2014…two…! One event will be in Concord (Bay Area) which we’re calling “Spirit West Coast-Nor Cal” and the other in Southern California, called (you guessed it) “Spirit West Coast-So Cal”. Through some blessed and unexpected circumstances we are able to do these events with extremely little financial risk; a somewhat mandatory aspect given our financial status. Furthermore, we’ve been able to not only assemble great lineups at these events, but the events will be presented at excellent, very well-known venues in their regions.
Here are the facts:
Spirit West Coast-So Cal – Friday, June 20 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in ONTARIO (Inland Empire). Headliners are: MERCY ME and TENTH AVENUE NORTH. Others appearing include: Sanctus Real, Kutless, Colton Dixon and Plumb.
Spirit West Coast-Nor Cal -Sunday, June 22 at The Sleep Train Pavilion in CONCORD. Headliners are> NEWSBOYS and JEREMY CAMP plus TENTH AVENUE NORTH. Others appearing include: Kutless, Lincoln Brewster, Colton Dixon and Plumb.
Without question the event model is different for 2014; one-day, no camping, simplified logistics and infrastructure, etc. BUT along with the leaner logistics and programming comes a huge new opportunity; to have a higher attendance than in recent years due to much lower ticket prices.
Tickets will be priced as low as…$12.50! Can you believe that? $12.50! SWC has desired to radically lower ticket prices for a long time and now with this new model we can. There are other tickets price categories in the reserve seat scenarios, VIP seats and packages (much lower than past festivals), but the main thing is, now families and those who need a “low entry price point” have it.
Circling back to the “most spiritually impacting year SWC has had in years” comment, here’s the deal. With 2 regional events and radically lower prices across-the-board, thousands more will attend Spirit West Coast than has been the case in recent years. Since we know God will show up in Concord and Ontario, more people attending equals more eternal impact!
The key element at EACH EVENT in 2014 is just as it always has been; an evangelistic message will be delivered, providing thousands an opportunity to begin and/or reconsider their relationship with Jesus Christ! Sound familiar? Providing an opportunity for spiritually life-changing “Kingdom business” at a music festival is what SWC has been doing for 17 years.
I’m so thankful for everyone who has and is taking this journey of faith with us. Sometimes I find myself asking for God’s will and leading, as long as “His will” lines up or fits within “my” will. But that is not how faith and trust in Him works. His will is His will, not mine. God has shown us His will and leading for 2014 and now we are marching ahead with “life changing” year number 18.
Honestly, sometimes change like we’re experiencing in 2014 makes me a little nervous; I think the unknown is always like that. But I’ve seen God do incredible things through change many times, including with Spirit West Coast. God has a complete plan for SWC, be it back to a three-day, camping events in the future or a continued series of single day events. He knows exactly what He is doing with Spirit West Coast in the future. Like Abraham in Hebrews 11:8 when“…he went out, not knowing where he was going” ,God knew and He knows where SWC is going too.
I hope you can attend one of these events in June; it will be awesome to celebrate with the SWC family together again.
Thankfully and joyfully in Him,
Producer/Founder – Spirit West Coast festivals
SWC is a tax deductible, non-profit ministry.