The purpose of SoulFest is to celebrate God’s love and encourage all who attend to live from the inside out as soul- connected risk-taking Believer in God’s love. A clearer understanding of God’s love will increase our capacity to love ourselves, those who we live with, and our neighbors. Our capacity to take action against any injustice will increase when we truly believe that God’s love is real, for everyone, prevails and is unconditional.
SoulFest And Social Justice
Social justice is a very broad concept and topic. The most basic definition of social justice as given by Merriam-Webster is “a state or doctrine of egalitarianism”. It can be viewed, spoken of, and carried out in many different ways. Some people view it through the lens of politics, economics, religion, socialism, humanitarianism, etc. At the SoulFest we choose to view the broad concept of “social justice” through a Christian lens. Or, maybe more specifically through the life and teachings of Jesus and the whole of scripture. The concept of a “God of Justice” in scripture is unavoidable. Just as unavoidable through the scripture is the call to love your neighbor, care for those less fortunate, supply to the orphan and the widows, and the list goes on. “True religion” is even described in James 1:27 as looking after the orphans and the widows. Jesus says something very radical in Matthew 25:40. He says whatever we do for the “least of these” we do for Him. So do we promote the cause of “social justice” at the SoulFest? Absolutely. And without hesitation. And we do these things through the lens of the gospel and with the examples and teachings of Christ in mind. We find nothing compromising or controversial when it comes to the SoulFest raising awareness and funds to help stop human trafficking, or to liberate woman from the sex-slave industry, to end abortion, to provide clean water solutions to impoverished nations, or to create orphanages, schools, and give medical care to children who have access to none of those things.
It is important to note that the SoulFest is not a church. We are not trying to be a church. We value the church locally and worldwide. And we are comprised of many different backgrounds and beliefs within the church as a staff and amongst our attendees at the festival. This is by design. We are not trying to promote a specific denomination or specific theology at the SoulFest. But instead we are coming together as people and artists of faith choosing to focus on a central theme and topic that the gospels present: LOVE.
We wrap it up in the tagline Music, Love, Action and it is all part of the revolution that Jesus started.
The True Love Pledge
Each year, the True Love Pledge is presented to all who attend SoulFest. Our hope is that this Pledge will help to recenter and inspire all who take it. As we take the True Love Pledge, we will understand that this love is already at the root of us. If we daily allow True Love to transform us, our capacity to love ourselves, changes. Our capacity to love those who live under our roof, changes. Our capacity to love our coworkers, our neighbors, anyone who crosses our path, changes. Our capacity to look out after the least of these and stand up against injustice, changes. This change is an increased capacity to live as we are intended to live, as Jesus called us to live. True Love is Action. It is the ongoing transformation that brings our lives into focus. God’s Love is the True Transformer, God’s love is Unconditional.
I want to live from the inside out as a soul-connected risk-taking follower of Jesus. With the help of God and my friends, I pledge to live the revolution Jesus started, one day at a time… because eternity begins today:
- With myself and Jesus: I will further develop my intimate relationship with God by nurturing my soul, heart and mind and body, intellectually, and devotionally. I will take time to allow God to minister to my soul in silence, in prayer, in meditation, in music, and in the word.
- With my family and loved ones: Charity will flourish in my actions and with my words, I will love my family, my spouse, my children, my brothers, my sisters, my parents, and all those who share my home.
- With my neighbors: The people who live next to me, across the street and down the block. I will meet them, get to know them, serve them, love them, in action and in words.
- With my community: I will use my gifts and talents to serve my community by serving those whom Jesus commands us to serve. Whether in a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, senior center, big brother/big sister program, prison ministry, local school, library, or any other point of need, I will commit to at least 2 hours of volunteer service each month.
- With our church fellowship: I will commit to serve my brothers and sister unselfishly, allow Christ to use me to build his church and not try to make it mine. I will be more giving of my time, gifts and resources, to help the church be the body Christ calls us to be to each other and the world.
- With my fellow inhabitants of this global village: I will regard each one as my neighbor. I will respond to those in need wherever they may live. I will work for peace, justice, and reconciliation wherever they are needed and I will give of my time, talent, and resources to lift up, encourage, and support anyone God brings across my path, regardless of race, religion, or class.
With God’s creation: I will intentionally accept the responsibility to be a steward of this beautiful earth God has blessed us with. I pledge myself to leave it better than when I found it, locally, nationally, and throughout the world.
- stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves
- support the sanctity of life everywhere
- build relationships that reflect Jesus’ priorities for all God’s purposes
- fight against powers and principalities
- become more aware of, educated about, and responsive to all indignities and injustices that enslave those who are weaker and who suffer from extreme poverty
- not be silent or passive, because these crimes are so great an atrocity against the image of God
Today, this is my pledge to pursue True Love and live the revolution Jesus started.
Our Staff Members
Dan Russell is the co-founder of SoulFest and president of New Sound International. In addition, Dan has worked as an artist manager and advocate, musician, songwriter, concert promoter, record producer and film/television/documentary music supervisor.
Vanessa joined our team in the spring of 2012 after returning from two years in Peru. She oversees our Ministry Partner relationships, the Soul University workshops & speakers, festival hospitality, regional concert volunteers, and assists with PR, marketing and web content.