Featured Artist: Jeremy Camp | Exclusive Interview
Jeremy Camp is a Gospel singer of merit and a rock star to thousands; but in his simplicity he likes to introduce himself as “a minister of the Gospel who just happens to do music”! On tour in India for the first time, Jeremy and his cronies rocked the city of Chennai for the glory of God in a worship concert that drew a crowd of nearly 14,000. The event which was held in the MCC school grounds in Chennai in January 2016 had a free entry pass which meant that it was thrown wide open to anyone who had a desire to be there. Even the mildly curious members of the audience would have been impressed with the way Camp and the band took them through a breath-taking evening that served as a smooth mix of true worship, prayer and great music.
Salt ‘n’ Light was blessed to catch up with the singer on the Bangalore leg of his tour to talk about this concert and some of the defining experiences on his journey through life. Here are excerpts of our conversation with Jeremy Camp:
Salt ‘n’ Light: This is your first tour of India; how has the experience been for you and the band?
Jeremy: Colourful! *laughs* but that is a good thing! There have been so many different experiences and the people have been incredible! There is such a passion for the lost here; so many people are saying ‘you need to reach our country’ and that is really inspiring because in America everyone is very individualistic and what I felt here is that people show concern for the country. Everyone’s heart for the country has been beautiful; that has been huge! The food has been incredible; to have authentic Indian food… it’s just my favourite food of all time!
Salt ‘n’ Light: The numbers that turned up in Chennai were overwhelming! Prior to the concert, did you expect 14,000 people?
Jeremy: No! You have hopes and conversations about what it would be like and when we first spoke about coming to India we thought we would have about 3000 and we actually got 10,000 more than what we expected! Our hearts desire was to reach out to as many people as we can and God kept opening doors for us with mainstream media coverage and that was just God’s favour; it was NOT us- we didn’t do anything at all! We did what God called us to do in obedience but it was Him working! So we were blown away; to God be all the glory!
Salt ‘n’ Light: The Christ-centered approach was very visible even in the concert; you were praying between songs. Is that something you always look to do to keep a crowd centered on Jesus and not on yourselves as performers?
Jeremy: Every time!
Salt ‘n’ Light: Is it something you make a conscious effort to do or is it something that comes naturally?
Jeremy: It comes naturally but the depth of it depends on how our relationship with the Lord is. How fresh it is depends on how my heart is; if I am staying in the word and I am staying in prayer it comes out very fresh! When it is fresh- even though I say the same thing over and over again- it’s different because of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Salt ‘n’ Light: As a popular singer there can always be a lure of secular music, you have got offers to do non-Gospel stuff but what makes you say ‘no’ to that and remain true to your calling?
Jeremy: There are a couple of things; one is accountability. There are a lot of people who will tell me “that is not cool, don’t go down that path!” And the second is to know where I come from. Zechariah (the book in the bible) says ‘Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.’ Zch 4:10 So I go back and say ‘God, the reason why I am here is because I went through that difficult time and you gave me songs and showed yourself as faithful.’ It began with His hand leading and directing me. So I don’t want to take the reins from Him!
Salt ‘n’ Light: You mentioned the difficult times, can you talk us through how God comforted you during your difficult times and lifted you up from an experience of death (Jeremy lost his first wife Mellissa to cancer four months into their marriage) and took you to an experience of life in abundance with a beautiful wife and three kids.
Jeremy: *Pauses* There are all of these scriptures that you read when you are growing up that really hit your heart when you go through something like that. So God’s word was huge! I would read “He is near to the broken-hearted” Ps 34:18 and I would say “Yeah, you are!” I would read “lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.” Pro 3:5 and I had to really learn to trust Him. So it was a process. It wasn’t like *snaps finger* O I am fine! You have to meditate on those scriptures and the promised that God gives you and you have to hold on with all your might to this… And that is what I did!
Salt ‘n’ Light: Finally, what is your message to young people who are searching and a bit lost in that search?
Jeremy: You can go the ends of the earth in search of something in this world that will satisfy you and every single time you will realize that as much success and peace that you think you can find you will end up in a spot where you are on your face and you will ask yourself “What else is there?” and you will say “It’s got to be Jesus” and I pray that he reveals himself to them and they realize that this world will leave them empty and broken and in a lot of pain but Jesus will bring you life in abundance!
Picture Credits © Roviena Jonathan
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