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Fine Arts winner makes it to Hollywood

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 - 3:55 PM CST

Luke Edgemon
Edgemon

"American Idol" premiered its Hollywood Week on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, showcasing 181 contestants that survived the initial auditions and were back to prove themselves deserving of a spot on the hit television show.

North Carolina singer Luke Edgemon was one of those contestants sent to Hollywood after his Orlando audition.

"When I first realized that I'd made it to Hollywood, I felt like I was imagining it," Edgemon says. "Standing in front of the Idol judges and Kristen Chenoweth was surreal enough already."

Edgemon, who won first place in the Male Vocal Solo category at the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival in 2006, says making it to Hollywood felt much like the first time he made it to second and third rounds in Nationals. "Something I had been trying to achieve for so many years had finally been attained ... I couldn't have been happier," he says.

"Being a part of National Fine Arts played a part in almost every aspect of my journey on American Idol," Edgemon says. According to Edgemon, little things throughout the competition reminded him of Fine Arts, such as the constant adjudication and calls to the stage.

Although sent home during American Idol's Hollywood week, he learned some valuable lessons from his Fine Arts experiences that prepared him for this situation.

"Rejection is also something that FAF taught me to deal with," he says. "While most people don't like to associate a negative word like that with the amazing things that come from Fine Arts, it is unfortunately an emotion most of us who participate have to deal with and overcome." 

"I am thankful to have learned, at a young age, that no matter what dismissal we face, we are still destined by God to walk in our calling. I focused on this particular bit of knowledge when I was released from the American Idol competition during Hollywood Week this year, and I have the 6 years I participated in National Fine Arts Festival to thank," Edgemon says.

Edgemon learned another lesson while preparing for his auditions that may come as a surprise to some - he gave up soft drinks and coffee, which could harm his voice. "I had a meeting with a local speech pathologist before going to Los Angeles, and she taught me that caffeine is extremely harmful to the vocal chords, as it dries them out significantly, and doesn't allow them to work to their fullest potential," he says.

Since his release from American Idol in January, Edgemon has secured a few singing opportunities: singing in churches throughout the United States, performing the national anthem at sporting events, and judging the district level of the Fine Arts Festival competition in a number of states.  He has also started recording a few covers for fun.

During his journey through Fine Arts, Edgemon attended Glad Tidings Church (AG) in Dunn, North Carolina. He does not attend the church anymore, however, sees himself as a member of quite a few AG churches throughout the country while he travels. "I travel as much as I can, ministering through songs that Jesus has blessed me with," Edgemon says.

As for season 10 auditions, Edgemon says he would definitely try out for American Idol again. "The entire process is insanely fun and interesting. From the travel, to the constant immersion in song, to meeting the most amazing people; the experience is like no other," he says.

"Right now, I am hoping that God brings me to something much bigger than American Idol in 2010. However, I walk through every door that I feel He holds the key to; and if nothing significant has taken my journey one step closer to the tremendous calling He has ordained for my life, then you can definitely expect to see me in those long lines again this fall."

Wherever Edgemon is singing, he is sure that his faith plays a part in his music. "My faith holds an esteemed role in my music. Before I sing a note, or even take a breath, I challenge myself to remember where my giftings and talents came from," he says. "Making music is my calling, and I cannot ever allow myself to forget that."

To hear some of Edgemon's music, visit his Myspace page.


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Luke Edgemon
Edgemon

"American Idol" premiered its Hollywood Week on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, showcasing 181 contestants that survived the initial auditions and were back to prove themselves deserving of a spot on the hit television show.

North Carolina singer Luke Edgemon was one of those contestants sent to Hollywood after his Orlando audition.

"When I first realized that I'd made it to Hollywood, I felt like I was imagining it," Edgemon says. "Standing in front of the Idol judges and Kristen Chenoweth was surreal enough already."

Edgemon, who won first place in the Male Vocal Solo category at the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival in 2006, says making it to Hollywood felt much like the first time he made it to second and third rounds in Nationals. "Something I had been trying to achieve for so many years had finally been attained ... I couldn't have been happier," he says.

"Being a part of National Fine Arts played a part in almost every aspect of my journey on American Idol," Edgemon says. According to Edgemon, little things throughout the competition reminded him of Fine Arts, such as the constant adjudication and calls to the stage.

Although sent home during American Idol's Hollywood week, he learned some valuable lessons from his Fine Arts experiences that prepared him for this situation.

"Rejection is also something that FAF taught me to deal with," he says. "While most people don't like to associate a negative word like that with the amazing things that come from Fine Arts, it is unfortunately an emotion most of us who participate have to deal with and overcome." 

"I am thankful to have learned, at a young age, that no matter what dismissal we face, we are still destined by God to walk in our calling. I focused on this particular bit of knowledge when I was released from the American Idol competition during Hollywood Week this year, and I have the 6 years I participated in National Fine Arts Festival to thank," Edgemon says.

Edgemon learned another lesson while preparing for his auditions that may come as a surprise to some - he gave up soft drinks and coffee, which could harm his voice. "I had a meeting with a local speech pathologist before going to Los Angeles, and she taught me that caffeine is extremely harmful to the vocal chords, as it dries them out significantly, and doesn't allow them to work to their fullest potential," he says.

Since his release from American Idol in January, Edgemon has secured a few singing opportunities: singing in churches throughout the United States, performing the national anthem at sporting events, and judging the district level of the Fine Arts Festival competition in a number of states.  He has also started recording a few covers for fun.

During his journey through Fine Arts, Edgemon attended Glad Tidings Church (AG) in Dunn, North Carolina. He does not attend the church anymore, however, sees himself as a member of quite a few AG churches throughout the country while he travels. "I travel as much as I can, ministering through songs that Jesus has blessed me with," Edgemon says.

As for season 10 auditions, Edgemon says he would definitely try out for American Idol again. "The entire process is insanely fun and interesting. From the travel, to the constant immersion in song, to meeting the most amazing people; the experience is like no other," he says.

"Right now, I am hoping that God brings me to something much bigger than American Idol in 2010. However, I walk through every door that I feel He holds the key to; and if nothing significant has taken my journey one step closer to the tremendous calling He has ordained for my life, then you can definitely expect to see me in those long lines again this fall."

Wherever Edgemon is singing, he is sure that his faith plays a part in his music. "My faith holds an esteemed role in my music. Before I sing a note, or even take a breath, I challenge myself to remember where my giftings and talents came from," he says. "Making music is my calling, and I cannot ever allow myself to forget that."

To hear some of Edgemon's music, visit his Myspace page.


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AG Grows By Attracting New Generation

Mon, 21 Apr 2014 - 4:31 PM CST

As the world continues to vie for the attention of the younger generation, the Assemblies of God is one of the few U.S. denominations where young people are flocking. Statistics indicate approximately 40 percent of the Fellowship's more than 3 million adherents are 25 and younger.

"The Assemblies of God has historically done a good job of keeping the focus on the next generation," says Scott Berkey, children's pastor at Victory Worship Center (AG) in Tucson, Arizoma, and former national director of the Children's Ministries Agency. "When that comes from the top, it trickles down in different ways and in different capacities all the way to the local church level."

Now more than ever, Berkey says parents are doing their homework before they walk into a church with their families and choosing ones that place special emphasis on children. If the church is doing its job by helping children feel connected, then it's the children who will bring their parents back to the church, says Berkey.

"Today's parents predominantly go where their kids want them to go," Berkey says. "The buying power kids have today is unlike any generation before them, and the same holds true as to where they go to church."

Mark Entzminger, senior director for AG Children's Ministries, says this need for connection is of vital importance to children.

"Kids today want to belong and have a place where they fit in and are welcomed, loved, and accepted for who they are," Entzminger says. 

In addition to a nurturing environment, Entzminger says the AG is reaching a hands-on generation, and teaching methods should reflect this whenever possible.

One of the Fellowship's most successful evangelistic outreaches for children, MEGA Sports Camp, gives evidence of this trend. MEGA Sports Camp allows the worlds of sports and faith to collide with positive results. Entzminger says this Vacation Bible School-style outreach typically attracts children who aren't Christians or who come from an unchurched background. The result is often a number of families getting plugged into a local congregation.

When reaching those outside the church, Berkey says it's important to be strategic and create an environment where people want to come and experience why a church is different from other community children's events.

"What separates us from those events is the love of Jesus Christ," Berkey says. "The people in our churches are interacting and sharing the love of Christ with children."

After establishing a foundation built on the love of Christ, children then graduate into local youth ministries. Heath Adamson, senior director for AG Youth Ministries, says the Spirit-empowered gospel is what speaks to their hearts.

"We're firm believers that the most relevant thing today truly is the presence and the drawing of the Holy Spirit," Adamson says. "He always communicates in a language everybody understands, and it is His presence that becomes the impetus that crosses those invisible borders that separate generations."

Adamson says this movement of the Spirit was never intended to remain within the four walls of the church. Through the campus ministry of Youth Alive, students are intentionally being equipped to be salt and light in their schools and to identify key moments they can live out their faith, whether it's in science class or walking down the hall at school.

The goal, Adamson says, is for Youth Alive campus missionaries to not necessarily tell everybody about what they believe, but to have the courage to listen to somebody's story and, through the interaction of the Holy Spirit, allow God to open a door for them to share God's story.

The hope of the ministry is that the participating students will make an impact on the lives of those around them regardless of where their paths take them. Students not only make a difference; they become the difference.

Jay Mooney, executive director of COMPACT Family Services in Hot Springs, Arkansas, (AG) knows all too well the importance of being the difference in the lives of children and youth, particularly those in crisis.

Mooney says a child or youth who comes through the door of COMPACT immediately is shown the love of Christ. Mentors model consistent discipline and love.

Love was what greeted a 19-year-old woman from South Carolina who described herself as a scared, broken child when she stood on the doorstep of COMPACT's Highlands Maternity Home.

Molested as a young girl, she suffered from a sexual addiction that left her unmarried and pregnant; however, she says it was the love of God that changed her life.

From day one, Mooney says caregivers work with troubled children and youth from every angle to influence their lives and heal their wounds by ministering to their whole person — body, soul and spirit.

Such was the case with this young woman, who has ultimately come to experience God's grace and forgiveness.

"It's crazy how God ordered my steps," she says. "Highlands is where God began to turn my life around, and now God is walking me down the road so I can be who He's called me to be."

She is currently enrolled in school and has plans to pursue her credentials to become an AG missionary.

"It was just amazing the love that they had for me," she says. "They loved me past my attitude, and they loved me past my sin. They showed me how Christ sees me."

With this simple, yet timeless message, AG children's and youth ministries are successfully reaching out to and impacting a generation marked by constant change and advancement. 

"At the end of the day, love works," Adamson says. "Walking with Christ works."

Author: Shannon M. Nass, Pentecostal Evangel

 

 


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