Vol. I: TOUCH
His DVD Trilogy is called, “Touch”- Vol. 1. If you ask Pastor Rudy Rasmus, what is the glue behind the ministry success at St. Johns United Methodist Church, he’ll simply tell you “Folks feel the love!” Well, if you haven’t picked up the DVD yet, it’s now available and in demand!
“Such a simple way to describe the volumes of mobilized care and compassion that embody the Pastor Rudy experience. Spirit Rising Music takes on the challenge of immortalizing the feeling in Volume I: Touch – a trilogy of music, video and literary work for July 2007 release.
Pastor Rudy has found a way to share and regenerate the love with a cross-section of 9,000 people that make up the St. John’s United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. It’s a ministry that is founded and built on meeting needs; with purity in purpose and presentation. St. John’s provides meals 7 days a week to the homeless community in downtown Houston, TX. distributing 15,000 lbs of fresh food every week. Drug rehabilitation, temporary shelter and social services are also offered as an extension of compassion.
Pastor Rudy uses a community network approach in establishing wholeness in individuals and families, and the church rallies and grows around it. The worship experience is simply an expression and celebration of the work.
“What we do on weekends is a unique – even an alternative view of church. It’s fun and connects with folks on the fringes of organized religion, as well as with people who are historically churched,” he says. Music often makes it easier to bridge the gap where there are cultural and experiential differences. Volume I: Touch embraces that as an expression and as a tool to bring all things together.
Pastor Rudy shares, “The music is a blended experience. We looked at this from a Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria perspective. Jesus told the disciples [Acts 1:8] that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem – where all the church folks are, and in Judea – right on the outskirts where folks are a little bit familiar with church, and then Samaria – where folks have no clue about church. We took the three distinct ‘locations’ of church and brought those together in one project.” The music crosses those territories and wraps the love in packages palatable to just about everyone.
Ron Summers delivers the contemporary choir sound with infectious rhythms and thick choir harmonies. The first single from Volume I: Touch “Total Praise” is a high energy praise song and worship is sweetly presented on Ron’s ballad “With All My Heart.” The whole spectrum of church choir music is completed with Nikki Ross’ B-3 introduced “Peace,” the projects second single. Brian C. Wilson is the voice of what has been rightly coined as “neo-sacred” – R&B patterned vocals around songs that have religious content. “The Only Way” exhibits the collective of Wilson’s influences – Sam Cook, Fred Hammond and Stevie Wonder. His raspy tenor wraps around new-style altar appeal “Waiting to Turn” and easily grabs hearts and meets listeners right where they are.Throwing the musical rules out the window is Houston-based group Soulfruit. The more heavily R&B infused “Celebrator” featuring Adrian Anderson of platinum trio Trin-i-tee 5:7 and balladic “Nobody” appeals to the unchurched through mainstream rhythms and melodies. True to the Spirit Rising Music mantra, great music, great tracks to move and bounce to, but with a great Christian message.
To bring the experience to life is a bonus DVD and this summer a literary release Touch: The Power of Touch in Transforming Lives. The book outlines the methodology and theology of Pastor Rudy – the inclusive gospel resultant of seeing each person as God sees them. Valuing each life as He does. That’s the reason people feel the love. Along with the audio sensory explosion of the music and the visual illustration of the DVD which chronicles the lives of people in and around the St. John’s community, the book rounds out this groundbreaking multi-media ministry presentation.
In Pastor Rudy’s view, we don’t need to abandon church culture, but we need to redefine it to be more global. “I believe this is what we have to do in order to cross into the region where the largest untapped market is – in that place where folks understand church and have been exposed to it but have opted out of the whole church experience.” Pastor Rudy believes we do that by touching people spirit, soul and body. Volume I: Touch begins the outreach, and hopes folks feel the love.
Pastor Rudy’s hope for this project is also his hope for the global church “I’m hoping for a revolution of sorts where the project reminds the church of its social responsibility. I want this to serve as a reminder of the fact that we have missed millions of folks on the margin. What we are saying is this is an experience everyone can feel. The project Volume I: Touch is just a celebration, an expression of what we do.”
Info. provided courtesy of Nicole Heyward.