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Last night my church had the pleasure of hosting gospel concert with recording artist Kierra Kiki Sheard last night and boy did we have a time! But before I get to Kiki lets go back to the beginning of the night! There were truly some talented gifted ministering servants that graced the stage.

The concert was well balanced and diverse. The groups spanned from contemporary gospel, reggae, r&b, and even some hip-hop from the princess of gospel herself. But we started the night perfectly, in worship! Tennille Tomlinson sang for the glory of God with a heart chasen after God. Her ministry was so pure and she really led the congregation into the presence of God. I later told her she was my new favorite artist because the girl can SANG!

Then came the G.W.C Brothers, whose down-home gospel meets Motown feel was energetic and fun. Most of the performers in the group were well into their 60’s but they sang and performed like they just peeked in their teens. There passion and drive was infectious and the congregation connected in an inspiring way. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive about the group when I first heard they were coming BUT I am soo glad for the pleasant surprise.

Cece Dillion was next and I was immediately drawn in as she covered a song by my favorite artist, Tasha Cobbs Step Into the Joy of the Lord, so by default was my favorite performance of the night! Her group’s level of professionalism was impressive. Their music was vocally challenging but as an audience member you would never know but as someone who constantly listens to music and recognizes the challenges they really did well with difficult music. My Pastor took time out to personally thank her and the group for their ministry.

Of course we had to throw in the some great dancing from none other than the TOGAC Kingdom dancers, who played it safe and rightly so, ministering to For Your Glory. The lead dancer Briana Thorpe really poured her heart out and she helped lead what was an awesome display.

Soul & Tsaba was a new group to the mix. I missed most of their performance running around but from what I did catch their sultry island flavor was moving and fitted for the diverse group. But later in the evening Pastor Odane James took us right back to the island of Jamaica with a medley suited for an already lively audience. Honestly, it was pure entertainment! He really has a knack to get the crowd riled up! I spoke with him after and he was so humbled that his ministry was so well received. He told me laughing some one came to him asking if he had an cd or card information for booking (LOL)! But even with a such a mixed crowd he still had of one the most successful ministries of the night.

Coming Down! Eddie Gunter & Birthright and Tim Bush & Identified were as close to a featured artists as one could reach outside of Kiki because THEY WERE BOTH SOOO GOOD! Their ministry reflected not only great levels of talent but also, preparation, hard work, and a unique sense of artistry. It was obvious that this is their life! The individuality proved their groups are working towards creating an identity that will set them apart in an industry full of copycats. They were both so great. Their sets featured covered tracks, original music, and featured voices in the groups. After Kiki finished they returned to stage and performed the popular gospel hit Intentional and KILLED! Their unrehearsed impromptu  performance was lively, energetic, and musically brilliant, i’m not exaggerating. Finally, the lead singers Eddie Gunter & Tim Bush represent two young men who love God and LOVE what they’re doing. They are clearly artist with vision, direction, and a sincere passion for music, and its reflective in their performance. Eddie is a ball of energy on stage, constantly jumping and flying all the stage encouraging the congregation to engage in worship. Tim’s holy screams, as I like to call them, bellowed through the sanctuary and left me with goosebumps every time, it was beautiful.

By 9:00 o’clock the church had already been blessed by an immense amount of talented and anointed ministry but then Kiki came out.

Quick story first!! My youngest sister Robin is Kiki’s BIGGEST FAN, so you can imagine the night she had. When Kiki arrived Robin was escorted to the back to meet her and of course she cried like a big baby. But what was even more touching while the MC was introducing Kiki, he called Robin to stage. Her love for Kiki was made into a public announcement and it was well received. It was really touching. Kiki acknowledged that they made a connection, which I appreciated. Often artists are not relatable and sometimes even cold, but Kiki was the exact opposite. This is a night Robin will never forget.

She was genuinely sweet and her ministry reflected someone with a real LOVE for God. She poured her heart on the stage. She really was a blessing. What struck me most about her was while she sang Flaws she paused to take in the crowd actively singing the words verbatim.

The look in her eyes said, “Wow, they know my song and they LOVE it!” She was so vulnerable and shared some personal experiences that allowed her to make a deeper connection.  I believe she realized she was ministering to people who valued her ministry and she allowed the spirit to lead her through this connection. She made us feel like apart of an experience. And of course she was so real! Funniest thing, my friend Raydine and I made bets to see how long she would wait to take off her shoes! She walked on the stage and about 3 minutes later she says, ” Y’all I just wanted to walk in cute!”

The experience certainly came with its challenges but the end results were well worth every moment of frustration. Arise 2015 was one for the books and I look forward to the years and years to come!

My Directive: Never back down from something that looks challenging or insurmountable, or you will miss out on a chance to conquer new territory and mark new paths. 

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