The Experience and the love of worship
For the last ten years, Lagos has played host to a frenzied, overwhelming worship concert that draws people from across the world for a soulful, eclectic mix of gospel music.
Tagged The Experience, this concert has grown in leaps and bounds, promising attendees a memorable, impactful time in a company of spirit-charged worshippers. It fills the city with love, kindness and songs — sweet, melodious Christian renditions from home and abroad.
Adjudged as Africa’s largest gospel festival and Lagos’ trademark Christian concert, the vibe from the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) venue leaves the streets of Africa’s commercial hub flowing with red lights, tambourines and laughter.
The Experience, many say, tells the story of Nigeria and the possibilities that can be attained if her citizens can focus on a common purpose. The tenth edition of the event held last week with its trademark swagger — an outpouring of love for God and yearning for fellowship.
The mood at the TBS ballooned was a whirlwind of soul-lifting experience for worshippers at the centre of Lagos, magnifying once again what started as a thought inspired by God in the mind of the founder of House on The rock Church, Paul Adefarasin.
The gospel festival has grown with an endearing touch of unparalleled professionalism, hospitality, security, excellence, unity, and has afforded many altar to worship their creator.
Gathered at last Friday’s The Experience were people of different ages, walks of life, ethnic groups, Christian denominations, with everyone caught up in a genuine moment of worship, praise and admiration for God and his unflinching grace. The concert somewhat draws a parallel with the image of corruption, failing infrastructure, dwindling economy fortunes and poor governance that Nigeria has been known for, providing another narrative of a people subjected to the will and grace of God.
Some of the acts for the evening included Don Moen, Fred Hammond, Frank Edwards, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Kim Burrell, Jessica Reedy, Sonnie Badu, Chioma Jesus, Nathaniel Bassey, Sammie Okposo, Midnight Crew, Micah Stampley, Julius Nglass and the Lagos City Chorale amongst others.
One of the attendees, who identified herself as Seun, said, “Today, the future seems so bleak that every flicker of hope is soon quenched by negativity. God has a great Nigeria planned for us and is sending his thoughts our way in various capacities. Some people are called to the market place, others to the government, education, health sector, public sector, entertainment and hospitality. Together we can work our dream, believe tenaciously and work vigorously till we see our thoughts materialise to reality and grow continually.”
He added that as citizens and Christians, there is a responsibility to identify what our individual purposes are, and if inspired by God, it can change the course of a man’s life and indeed this nation. He noted that it was this purpose that he came to tap from during the worship concert, as the enormous talent on display was enough to spur one to take another jab at life.
Another worshipper, who doesn’t want her name in print, said “As God’s grace demonstrated through divine providence of varied talents, capacities, gifting, skills and enablement has helped us hold The Experience for the tenth time, we mirror the same for our dream Nigeria.
“We are all part of the big dream; in our little corners and the world of influence, we should use them as platforms to launch this nation to be a desirable country in the world. As we invited God to our space through our worship and we continually do, He will do with us, for us and through us exceeding great things for the glorious future of our nation.”
A Thanksgiving prayer was said for God’s protection and the aversion of chaos in the last elections, as well as deliverance during the Ebola outbreak. The session was led by Engineer Ntiense Ubon-Israel, after which intercessory prayers was moderated by Dr. Kole Akinboboye for good counsel and wisdom for Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Talented classical singer, Julius Nglass then soothed the crowd with a beautiful performance of The Lord’s Prayer. Soon after, AY the Rhymer serenaded all with rhyming, apt and intelligent descriptions of God’s awesomeness and inexhaustibility.
With a striking voice range, international gospel artiste, Kim Burrell, gave powerful renditions of popular gospel tunes. Her performance quickly metamorphosed into a duet with a remarkable gospel artiste from Abuja.
“A merry heart doeth good like medicine,” was what could have described the performance by Comedian, ‘Akpororo,’ who brought down the house with a bag of unexpected, rib-cracking, jokes and mannerisms.
At midnight, the crowd treated to the uplifting performance by African gospel artiste, Sonnie Badu, who got the multitude up on their seats, with handkerchiefs in hands and dancing to his upbeat Afro-centric praise.
There was also a message from Dallas Texas, USA, as popular pastor and musician, Bishop TD Jakes, extended his greetings and exhortations.
Pastor Adefarasin, gave hearty greetings to the crowd, noting that the House on The Rock was marking her 21stanniversary. He appreciated the dignitaries that were at the concert. As a mark of respect, over 700,000 patriotic Nigerians stood up in honour of Nigeria’s National Anthem as rendered by Minister Chee and Onos, with Saxophone backing by Pastor Nathaniel Bassey.