Last Updated: Thursday - 09/30/2010
September 27, 2010
Musician brings Jesus' message to children
Jon Bauer delights in Vegreville youngsters' passion to sing for Jesus
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
VEGREVILLE - With today's children raised on the immediacy and glitz of the Internet, cellphones and iPods, capturing and keeping their attention on the Gospel can be difficult.
But when St. Martin's School in Vegreville brought in Jon Bauer, a teacher-turned-musician, for a day of reflection, the students' attention was focused.
"I like how he makes God sound so interesting, and he turns the message into rock 'n' roll music," said Grade 6 student Jessica Fisher.
Bauer has made three previous visits to the school and he was glad to be back.
"What keeps bringing me back here is the students' passion to sing for Jesus," he said.
For Bauer, singing is not the ultimate. The ultimate is to see the students "live out their worship when they return to their classroom, when they walk down the halls, when they are in the soccer field playing.
"I want them to have a lifestyle of worship to God."
All that accords well with the views of St. Martin's principal Ron Baier.
The Gospel message has not changed in 2,000 years and will not change in the future, Baier said. What must change, however, is the way in which that message is presented, particularly to children. Music is one way of reaching them and "making faith cool."
Bauer was a Grade 4 teacher before turning to music full-time, helping to connect kids and adults with God.
"God has placed that passion in me to share with people through music, and to connect them with God through the songs," he said.
"There is something about music that transcends our souls and allows us to connect with God in a real powerful way that sometimes words alone cannot do."
In 2008, Bauer was named Canada's Gospel Music Association male vocalist of the year, and in 2009 won the award for best children's album.
Colleen Timanson, a teacher at St. Martin's, said Bauer's songs are fun and lively, which encourages active participation among the students.
"I thought it was awesome. The kids are enthusiastic, and have been excited about this all week when they found out he was coming here," said Timanson.
"The children love him. He interacts well with the children, and he draws them right in," she said.
The day's theme - Jesus, Our Teacher, Our Shepherd - was taken from John 10.
Bauer said that we are often too busy, forgetting to slow down to reflect on life and reflect on God.
"Jesus, Our Shepherd is a crucial message for each one of us that we would slow down, that we would listen to the voice of God as he leads us this year," he told the students.
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